Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto

Kyoto Things to See

Kyoto, Japan Jul. 23 Tues 2:11AM

26.2 / 79.2

Seven Famous Spots

As winter comes to an end, people all over Japan start excitedly talking and thinking about ”Ohanami”. “Ohanami” is an annual event, or to be precise, it is a tradition which has been enjoyed by people in Japan for more than one thousand years. At “Ohanami”, people enjoy drinking and eating on a sheet under the cherry trees adorned with exquisite petals. It is wonderful to have a fun party while watching the beautiful cherry blossoms. This scene can be found at many places with cherry blossoms throughout Japan, but it doesn’t have to be a party; in fact, just viewing the cherry blossoms in full bloom is still entertaining and makes one feel blessed. Cherry blossoms and also “Ohanami” are pervasive in Japan, from Okinawa in the south to Hokkaido, which is located far north, although the peak time depends on the area and type of tree. However, there are certain notable sites to which people travel, both domestically and internationally, to see the cherry blossoms. Among these popular places, there is one location treated as a special. It’s Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan.

Kyoto has a plenty of hanami spots. And because of its popularity some places, such as Nijo Castle, hold illumination events for night viewing. The best thing about viewing the cherry blossoms and doing hanami in Kyoto is that one can enjoy not only the graceful cherry petals but also the historical sites as a background. It is hard to find a more Japanese setting than this. Unfortunately, it is impossible to introduce all of the good spots here, since there are simply too many. In any case, here are seven famous spots worth exploring.

Philosopher’s Path + Okazaki Area

Philosopher's Path Okazaki Area

For those who wish to see beautiful cherry blossoms while walking, this is the best option. The Philosopher’s Path is so named because there was a famous philosopher, Kitaro Nishida, who often walked along this path. On both sides of this path, which follows the gently running Biwa Lake Canal, elegant cherry blossoms are neatly lined up. Follow the canal all the way to the Okazaki area, and one can keep the lovely cherry blossoms view in sight for a long time.


The Kamogawa River

Kamogawa River

The Kamogawa River, which runs through the east side of Kyoto city, becomes a popular “Ohamani” spot each year. The beautiful landscape, the calm flow of river, and the delightful cherry blossoms can be enjoyed all at the same time. The fun, pleasant times of “Ohanami” with family members, friends and colleagues will be remembered for years to come.

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle and the cherry blossoms are a brilliant combination. 400 cherry blossoms trees can be seen here. Nijo Castle is one of many places in Kyoto where illumination events are held during this season. The cherry petals, which are lit up in the dark, create a far more solemn sight than in the sunlight.

Maruyama Park

Maruyama Park is possibly the most popular “Ohanami” venue. One might see a somewhat strange scene here, with a single person sitting on a large blue sheet alone. Don’t worry, these people are not lonely, and haven’t been stood up by their friends. They are holding the area for a party starting at a later time. Whether joining a party or not, the gorgeous weeping cherry tree at Maruyama Park is worth checking out.


Arashiayama is surrounded by beautiful scenery in all directions, which results in many spots with fair cherry blossoms. A landmark of the Arashiyama area, Togetsukyo Bridge, is the perfect background when taking a photo of the cherry blossoms. Behind the bridge and river, one can find cherry blossoms spotting the not yet quite green Arashiayma Mountain. It makes sense to couple “Ohanami” and visiting the historical spots Arashiayama offers.


Kyoto Gyoen National Garden

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, whose premises include Kyoto Imperial Palace, is a large park with about 50,000 plants. Of these, about 1,100 are cherry trees. On the north side, one can see the graceful weeping cherry blossoms. These usually start blooming at the end of March.

Takasegawa River

Takasegawa River is a thin canal that runs along the west side of Kamogawa River and was opened in 1611. Currently it is not used as a canal, but thanks to the cherry trees planted both sides, it attracts many visitors both day and night. This is one of a few places where one can enjoy viewing the cherry blossoms in the city area. 

The spots above are just a few examples of the places where the cherry blossoms can be seen. In fact, there are many more such as Ninnanji Temple, Daigoji Temple, Toji Temple, Hirano Shrine, Ohara Sanzenin Temple, Shinen Garden at Heian Jingu Shrine, Chion-in Temple and more. “Ohanami”, whether one has a party or just looks, should be one of the most fascinating Japanese traditions no matter one’s interests, and the view of the picturesque cherry blossoms in full bloom or at the time of scattering will unquestionably please and charm anyone coming to Kyoto and Japan.

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