Kyoto is a very beautiful place to travel to especially in spring and autumn seasons. In fact, hanami season makes it a perfect destination to explore all the top recommended cherry blossoms viewing (Hanami) spots. The landscapes here would astonish you with its unique seasonal beauty. If you ask me a question about which city I do prefer to live in between Tokyo and Kyoto, then I would choose it. In Autumn, Kyoto looks so pretty amazing with brightly colored leaves. To be honest with you, I had some unforgettable autumn foliage trips there before. If you are planning to visit Kyoto in April, I mean early April then you may guess that you hit the jackpot.
Kyoto’s nature changes throughout the four seasons of Japan. Every season has its own unique beauty, creating a mind blowing atmosphere to make you smile when you hang out with friends and family, even alone. There are a lot of cherry trees all around Kyoto prefecture. After viewing cherry blossoms in Okinawa, Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Matsuyama your next destination would be magical Kyoto city. But please don’t forget to check out the sakura blooming forecast. During spring time, Japanese media always provides you useful information about it. So, catch all the actions at the right time knowing the updated hanami news.
1) Philosopher’s Path (Tetsugaku no michi):
The Philosopher’s Path or Tetsugaku no michi is the top hanami spot in Kyoto. There are so many reasons I can explain why this spot is the number one hanami spot. Though I guess I should focus on some only. Alright, the place looks absolutely great in early April. The place gets crowded with thousands of Japan enthusiasts and nature lovers. It was lovely meeting foreign visitors there as well. They were friendly and liked my companion. We explored hanami together initially which was unplanned for us.
The path follows a sakura tree lined canal. Would you be surprise if I tell you that there are more hundreds of cherry trees? So the more you walk through the path the more sakura you will see. The canal path starts from Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) and ends in the neighborhood of Nanzenji.
The path is approximately two kilometers long. What?! Can you walk all the way then? I think you can but you better have some rest sometimes on the way sitting under the sakura trees. If you get hungry, no worries at all, there are restaurants/food stalls along the way. This is not the end, you can see temples and shrines as well. I hope you will enjoy your every second in this top hanami spot.
2) Okazaki Canal:
Okazaki canal seems to me a unique hanami spots in Kyoto. It is located outside of Heian Shrine. In fact, I want you to get to this Shrine where there are many weeping cherry trees you can see. To be honest with you my hanami season does not end until I have a pleasant boat trip on this canal. Though, visiting Kyoto from my home town takes a long time train journey, I try my best to get there on time. There is a footpath along the canal which offers you look at the beautiful lines of cherry blossom trees as well. Okazaki canal cruise is the main attractions here along with sakura. You don’t have to pay much neither you need a reservation to take this service. If you are thinking of viewing sakura by boat then there is no option left than this one.
3) Maruyama Park:
If you ever have been to Higashiyama District then I assume you have heard of Maruyama park. The Maruyama Park has a large weeping cherry tree on its grounds. It is a massive one comparing to other cherry trees found in Kyoto! Though this is not the only massive sakura tree I have visited, there are more and you can read my massive sakura tree expedition story here. However, in evening time this cherry tree attracts many sakura lovers to look at it for long for its absolute beauty. Enjoy your cherry blossom festival visiting this public garden and eat traditional foods from the food stalls that take place inside the park. No doubt that having a cup of tea here would make you very refresh. Oh, this one of the best place to see sakura at night.
4) Ninnaji Temple:
Ninnaji temple is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, I think it deserves to be so. It is a unique temple that was built in 888. In fact, Japan has got many World heritage sites and this is one of them. Hanami season here looks gorgeous like Hirosaki park. It is not only my own opinion but everyone who has visited it during hanami feels the same. The last time I went there in Autumn, it was a few months ago though. Temple’s grounds have many cherry trees and when they are in full bloom they look very pretty and amazing!
5) Kiyomizudera Temple:
Want to see color of spring from a wooden stage? I would certainly say “Yes” because I have already done this before. Well, Kiyomizudera temple has a big wooden stage from where you could enjoy sakura viewing. Just like Ninnaji temple this famous temple is also listed as UNESCO World Heritage site. In fact, thousands of tourists get back to home happily just right after having an unforgettable experience here. So, don’t forget to visit this hanami spots, if you do then you will be a loser! And try to visit it in Autumn as well, the autumn color that shines the whole area of this temple is just amazing and words can’t explain it until you experience it through your own eyes.
6) Kamogawa River:
Have you heard of Kamo River or Kamogawa River before? It is located in Kyoto prefecture and one of the popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Kyoto. Why not to believe it in such way? I myself find many reasons, like you can see the river, mountains, do cycling, arrange a picnic party and can walk. It provides a picturesque landscape that only a insane guy could say “I don’t like it”.
People like to walk on the riverbanks of Kamogawa River and that’s why it is a very popular walking spot in Kyoto as well. If you go to Kyoto to see splendid sakura and participate in Hanami then you could come here as a result you can walk, take photos of cherry blossom and ultimately you will have fun.
If you go there with your family members, don’t forget to bring some foods with you. I am telling it because this is a nice spot of arranging a simple outdoor picnic party. So go ahead! No one will resist you until you throw this idea from your head.
Arashiyama is not a typical place we see around us in Japan. It is a different place that attracts a lot of local and foreign tourists spring season. It is located in the western part of Kyoto. It has got many tourists spots including Buddhist temples, shrines, parks, bamboo groves and bridges. I just want to tell you that you must visit the following sakura viewing spots there: Tenryuji Temple, Nakanoshima-tei, Hozu-gawa area, Sewari-tei River Bank, Togetsukyo Bridge, and Katsuragawa Ryokuchi Park. They are all better to visit in spring and autumn than summer and winter. Finally, if you really want to get into the Japanese cherry blossom viewing spirit then you can start it here.
8) Hirano Shrine:
I see this hanami spot is as very peaceful and calm one among other Kyoto’s hanami spots. It is renowned for having many variety of cherry trees. You must visit this wonderful cherry blossom viewing spot in early April. Please note that, it could be a very crowded place during hanami season so I suggest you to have a visit early in the morning. Though, I prefer to talk a walk under sakura tree in the late evening time. You could try this out as well.
9) Nijo Castle:
Late and early blooming cherry trees can be seen here in the Nijo castle’s grounds. To view early cherry blossoms here in this spot you have got to come here in Late March while on the other hand if you wish to see late sakura then please get here before end of mid April. You will be happy seeing sakura along with Nijo castle, its moat, walls, inner garden, and the gate. I think, if you are a first time visitor to Kyoto to experience its hanami then why don’t you travel to Nijo castle? I bet you that, it is going to be one of your most beautiful places you have ever visited so far in your life. If you like exploring hanami at the grounds of various great Japanese castles then visit this page and explore few other spots.
10) Kyoto Botanical Garden:
Last year me and my friend (Honda) visited this renowned hanami spot. Our expectation was high and indeed we got that when we entered the garden area. It was my second time visit of my life but the first time I went there was in the summer, not in spring. So, I was pretty glad to see sakura there. Here, you can see weeping cherry trees and white sakura so called (somei yoshino). They are wonderful and perfect for taking photos. Make sure that you also make a visit to other tropical plants, there are many variety of them.
Virtually you have explored the top 10 Kyoto’s hanami spots here. Why don’t you see them in real life? I wish someday you will visit them. In some places around Japan hanami has started including some part of Kyoto. Oh..just to inform you that Kyoto become crowded place during hanami season so before coming here please make hotel reservation in advance. I wish you have a good time in Kyoto visiting all these famous sakura viewing places. Thank you.
Copyright 2015 @ takkhis