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10 Must-See Sakura Spots in Kyoto

STORY

 

10 Must-See Sakura Spots
~Kyoto Edition~

 

 
 
Although Kyoto is a fantastic destination any time of year, first time travelers to this treasure of a city should strongly consider visiting in the spring. Imagine the sight of Kyoto’s thousands of temples and shrines surrounded by sakura, or maybe even catching a glimpse of a geisha through the softly falling petals. These are the kinds of sights that make for lasting memories. Get inspired for your springtime visit to Kyoto with DiGJAPAN!’s list of 10 must-see sakura spots.
 

Heian-jingu Shrine 

Sakura at Heian Jingu Shrine

Perhaps best known as the site of the Jidai Matsuri, Heian-jingu Shrine is also a popular spot for sakura. While here, stop by the garden to see yaebenishidare sakura blooming by a peaceful lake. The shrine’s giant torii surrounded by cherry blossoms is also a great photo spot. 
 
Sakura near the torii of Heian Jingu Shrine

Information 

Heian-jingu Shrine | 平安神宮
Sakura season: Early-April to mid-April 
Access information for Heian-jingu Shrine 
 

Okazaki Canal & Keage Incline

Okazaki Canal Sakura

After visiting Heian-jingu Shrine, head over to the nearby Okazaki Canal which connects Lake Biwa with the Kamo River. You can get a great view of the sakura lining the canal on a boat tour. Once you return to shore, stop by the Keage Incline. Once used to move boats from the Okazaki Canal to those at higher elevations, this section of defunct railroad is home to nearly 100 sakura trees. 
 
Sakura at Keage Incline

Information

Okazaki Canal / Keage Incline | 蹴上インクライン / 岡崎疏水
Sakura season: Early to mid-April 
Information about boat tours: 
http://kyoto-tabi.or.jp/events/jkkfn/_en/
Access information: 
3 min walk from Keage Station (Tozai Subway Line) 
 

Togetsukyō Bridge / Arashiyama 

Sakura at Togetsukyō Bridge in Arashiyama

The mountains behind the Togetsukyō Bridge are dyed in shades of pink when the sakura bloom in April. The trees and bridge are illuminated at night and reflect in the river below. 
 
Sakura at Togetsukyō Bridge in Arashiyama

Information 

Togetsukyō Bridge / Arashiyama | 渡月橋 / 嵐山
Sakura season: Late-March to early-April 
Access information for the Togetsukyō Bridge in Arashiyama
 

Sagano Romantic Train 

Sakura and the Sagano Romantic Train

Enjoying a leisurely ride on the retro Sagano Romantic Train is a must in the spring. Some 4.5 miles (7.3 km) of the track which runs along the majestic Hozu River turns into a tunnel of sakura at the peak of the blooming season.
 
Sakura at the Sagano Romantic Train

Information

Sagano Romantic Train | 嵯峨野トロッコ列車
Sakura season: Early-April to mid-April 
Access information for the Sagano Romantic Train  
 

Tetsugaku No Michi (The Philosopher's Path)

Tetsugaku No Michi (The Philosopher's Path)

Get philosophical on a stroll down Tetsugaku No Michi or the Philosopher's Path. Running between the area around Nanzen-ji Temple and Ginkaku-ji Temple, this path gets its unique name from the prominent Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro. He is reported to have said that the path was a good place for meditation. The sakura blooming along the canal which cover the path like a canopy and the fallen petals underfoot make this one of Kyoto’s most popular spots for sakura. 
 
Sakura at Tetsugaku No Michi  Philosopher's Path

Information 

Tetsugaku No Michi | 哲学の道
Sakura season: Early April 
Access information for Tetsugaku No Michi
 

Hirano-jinja Shrine 

Sakura and lanterns at Hirano-jinja Shrine

Hirano-jinja Shrine is home to several species of sakura that bloom in various shades of pink at different times during the spring, creating a gorgeous gradation. Don’t miss the nightly light displays! 
 
sakura at hirano jinja shrine

Information

Hirano-jinja Shrine | 平野神社
Sakura season: Mid-March to late-April (blooming time depends on season) 
Access information for Hirano-jinja Shrine
 

Ninna-ji Temple 

Sakura at Ninna-ji Temple

If you’re planning to visit Kyoto a little later in the spring, Ninna-ji Temple is a good place to see sakura at their peak. The omurozakura here are among the latest blooming varieties. The sight of the main temple and the five-story pagoda peeking over a sea of pink sakura makes this spot particularly popular among photographers. 
 
Sakura at Ninna-ji Temple

Information 

Ninna-ji | 仁和寺
Sakura season: Early-April to mid-April 
Access information for Ninna-ji Temple 
 

Nakaragi No Michi 

Sakura at Nakaragi No Michi

Upstream from where the Kamo River joins with the Takano River around Demachiyanagi, the path on side of the river between the Kitayama Ōhashi and Kitaōjibashi Bridges is known as Nakaragi No Michi. An extremely popular spot for hanami among local residents, it’s not uncommon to see people picnicking under the trees at almost any time of day. Take your lunch to go and join in the fun! 
 
Sakura at Nakaragi No Michi

Information

Nakaragi No Michi | 半木の道 
Sakura season: Early April 
Access information:
Approx. 8 min walk from either Kitayama Station or Kitaōji Station (Karasuma Line) 
 

Sannenzaka

Sakura at sannenzaka

Enjoy some of Kyoto’s most picturesque scenery at Sannenzaka, a neighborhood located just slightly to the north of Kiyomizu-dera Temple. The somber gray of the stone paths and stairs contrast nicely with the gentle pink of the cherry blossoms. 

Sakura at Sannenzaka

Information 

Sannenzaka | 產寧坂  
Sakura season: Late-March to early-April 
Access information for Sannenzaka
 

Kiyomizu-dera Temple 

Sakura at Kiyomizu-dera

Last but not least is Kiyomizu-dera Temple. While the balcony provides a great view of the sakura growing on the hillside, don’t forget to check out the sakura blooming by the pond located near the exit of the temple. The sakura located around the base of the three-story pagoda is also a must-see spot. Visit in the evening to enjoy illuminated sakura. 
 
Sakura at Kiyomizu-dera

Information 

Kiyomizu-dera | 清水寺
Sakura season: Late-March to early-April 
Illumination period:
March 26~April 10, 2016 | 6:00pm~9:00pm 
Access information for Kiyomizu-dera Temple 
 

These are just some of the many places to enjoy sakura in Kyoto. Do you have a place you'd like to recommend? Let us know in the comments! 

※ Please note that the blooming periods listed in this article are based on predictions. Weather can greatly influence when sakura will be in full bloom.
 

Map of the Places From This Article 

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THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON INFORMATION FROM 02 23,2016 Author:Rachael Ragalye

 

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