15 Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto
Cherry Blossom Kyoto: Takenaka Inari Shrine, Maruyama Park and more
Kyoto is the most popular city for cherry blossom viewing in Japan without doubt. There are numbers of amazing places to enjoy the beautiful collaboration of cherry blossoms and Kyoto’s well-preserved historical sites including temples, shrines and traditional buildings. If you wish to enjoy the ancient scenery of cherry blossoms in Japan, Kyoto is definitely a place to visit. In this article, I would like to introduce some of the most recommended cherry blossom viewing spots in Kyoto!
Cherry blossoms in Kyoto usually start blooming in mid to late March and reach in full bloom in late March to early April, depending on the weather condition. You can check the best season to view cherry blossoms in Kyoto this year from the link below!
If you are looking for the best places to enjoy cherry blossom in Japan, check out the nationwide list from the link below!
1. Philosopher’s Path
Philosopher’s Path is Kyoto’s best walking trail. The approx 2 km stoned path along the canal is lined with over 500 cherry blossom trees and visitors can enjoy a pleasant walk under the cherry blossom tunnel.
2. Takenaka Inari Shrine
One of the most photogenic spot in spring, Takenaka Inari Shrine (竹中稲荷社) is a small shrine where not many tourists visit. Numbers of red torii gates stand along the cherry trees and creates the majestic scenery.
Address: 3–64 Yoshidakaguraokacho, Saky0-ward, Kyoto
3. Daigoji Temple
Daigoji (醍醐寺) is a temple complex with over 1,000 cherry trees. It’s famous as the place where the feudal lords of Sengoku period, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, used to hold a Hanami Party (cherry blossom viewing) with over 1,000 people in the 16th century.
4. Heian Shrine
Heian Shrine (平安神宮) is the popular spot for late blooming weeping cherry trees. Also it’s one of the best place in Kyoto to see the cherry blossoms at night.
5. Hirano Shrine
At Hirano Shrine (平野神社), over 400 cherry blossoms in 60 different kinds can be seen. Some of cherry trees start blooming from mid March till end of April. Also visitors can enjoy the cherry blossoms at night with light-up.
Address:1 Hirano Miyamotocho, Kita-ward, Kyoto
Hours: light-up till 9PM
6. Ninnaji Temple
Ninnaji Temple (仁和寺) is a World Heritage temple founded in 888. It’s best known for the late blooming cherry blossoms called Omuro Cherry, which start blooming usually a week after Somei Yoshino, the most common type of cherry trees in Japan.
7. Haradani-en Garden
The private garden which opens exclusively during cherry blossom season. Haradani-en Garden (原谷園) is slightly hard to reach but secretly known as the best hidden spot for cherry blossom viewing.
8. Kiyomizudera Temple
Kiyomizudera Temple (清水寺) is one of the most popular sights in Kyoto. Few cherry trees can be spotted around the famous balcony and numbers of them are planted in the temple site. Also the temple is lit-up at night.
9. Maruyama Park
Maruyama Park (円山公園) is the most popular public park for cherry blossom viewing in Kyoto where visitors can enjoy the viewing till late night. There are over 680 cherry trees in the park including the significant massive weeping tree which is over 12 m tall.
10. Toji Temple
T0ji Temple (東寺) is a Shingon Buddhist temple in Kyoto. It was founded 796 during Heian period after the capital was moved to Kyoto. The large temple complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is home to treasures and documents from early Heian period with 5 buildings that are designated to National Treasure including the symbolic five-story wooden pagoda. There are approx 200 cherry trees flourishing beautifully at the temple site, and a night illumination event is held during the full-blooming season.
11. Nijo Castle
Built in 1603, Nijo Castle (二条城) was a former residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of Tokugawa shogunate during Edo period. The castle consists of circles of defense walls and moats, Honmaru and Ninomaru, various buildings and gardens. It is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site registered as Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. There are approx 300 cherry trees at the site with 50 variations. A cherry blossom festival and light-up event is held during the season.
12. Togetsukyo Bridge
Arashiyama area is located in the outskirt of Kyoto city and a popular tourist destination where historical sites and nature can be enjoyed together. Togetsukyo bridge (渡月橋) is the icon of the area and most popular photograph spot.
Access: Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo-ward, Kyoto
13. Yodogawa Riverside Park
Yodogawa Riverside Park (淀川河川公園) is located at the border between Osaka and Kyoto, and it’s the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Kansai Region. The astonishing view of the 1.4 km long Sakura tunnel can be enjoyed during the season. Sakura Matsuri (cherry blossom festival) is held during the season.
14. Kyoto Botanical Garden
The oldest botanical garden in Japan, Kyoto Botanical Garden (京都府立植物園) is home to 200 kinds of cherry trees, and visitors can enjoy 140 of them. About 500 cherry trees are at the vast garden, and some of late-blooming cherry blossoms can be enjoyed till mid April usually.
15. Keage Incline
Keage Incline (蹴上インクライン) is a 582 m long old railway track which used to serve as a water transport of Lake Biwa Canal between Otsu and Kyoto. Now the site is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot lined by over 90 cherry trees, where visitors enjoy strolling down in a pleasant atmosphere.
Planning to visit Japan in Spring? Buy your train ticket in advance!
During cherry blossom season, popular spots attracts both tourists and locals, and express and bullet trains operate with a reserved seat system, meaning they can quickly become fully booked. So make sure to book your tickets ahead of time to secure your seat.
If you plan to visit other popular areas in Japan before/after Kyoto, check these recommended places to view cherry blossoms!
Looking for more info about cherry blossoms in Japan? Please check out listed articles too!