What is more important in spring than the weather forecast?
The sakura (cherry blossoms) forecast! The forecast is all about where and when the sakura will bloom and predictions being as accurate as possible locals and visitors pick up sakura spots in Kyoto to see the blossoms at the exact day of their full bloom!
For this occasion, we listed 10 sakura spots in Kyoto for hanami (cherry blossom viewing).
Just a 20min stroll by foot or 6min bus ride from Guest House hachi you’ll find Toji that is famous for its five-storied pagoda. You’ve probably seen it before on a postcard, since it’s the tallest pagoda in Japan and a symbol for Kyoto. Toji is every years highlight for sakura spots in Kyoto. The massive over 120-year-old and 13 meters tall cherry tree can be seen either during the daytime or after dark for an illuminated hanami experience.
Umekoji Parkis usually famous for its ume (plum) blossoms which bloom a few weeks earlier than the more famous cherry blossoms, but this park is nevertheless a wonderful spot for sakura in Kyoto, too. You can reach the park within 5min on foot from Guest House hachi and also visit the Kyoto Aquarium and Kyoto Railway Museum.
From Higashiyama Station it is only a 10 minutes walk to the famous Heian Jingu built in 1895. Admission starts from 8:30am where you can start enjoying 300 cherry trees around the complex. From 6:15pm to 9:00pm the trees are illuminated for late-blossom-viewers!
This 1,5km long path along a canal visitors can see different temples and shrines, such as the Kumanoyakouhi, Anrakuji, Honenin and the popular Ginkakuji. Being a popular spot for sakura in Kyoto be prepared for some crowds. However the many beautiful coffee shops along the canal also have some quiet spots. Just don’t miss this path when it turns to a pink wonderland.
Every second Sunday in April the Ho-Taiko Hanami Gyoretsu or Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s cherry blossom viewing parade is held at Daigoji – a huge reenactment of a party from 400 years ago, where Hideyoshi had planted 700 sakura trees and 1300 people celebrated the occasion with him. The parade is a great way to enjoy the sakura and experience Japanese history at the same time.
Popular with bibulous students Hirano Jinja is the place to be to enjoy the many beautiful cherry trees while sipping some sakura themed beverages with the locals. Get off at the terminal Kitano Hakubaicho on the Randen Kitano Line and walk for 3min north for a wonderful hanami experience.
A must-see sakura spot in Kyoto is without a doubt Arashiyama. This is the only time of the year where the beautiful bamboo forest is overshadowed by the bright pink blossoms along the banks of the Katsura River. Only 15min by train from Guest House hachi and a short walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station will take you to sakura heaven. Expect about 1500 cherry trees, people eating and drinking on blue sheets and welcoming spring!
The 680 trees of Maruyama Park will give you plenty space for your hanami picnic experience. This park is popular with families and other locals, so you can sit and chat until midnight when the illumination of the trees end. Located just between Yasaka Jinja and Chionin this park is a great spot in Kyoto for sightseeing as well.
Kamogawa is Kyoto’s famous river for a stroll and people watching. Its banks are lined with beautiful cherry trees which makes them a popular spot for hanami. Head north to the Kamogawa Delta where Kamogawa and Takanogawa meet. Along the banks you will find spacious sakura spots in Kyoto for your hanami.
Sometimes the sakura trees are lined up so close to each other that they form a sakura tunnel. With the Randen Kitano Line between Narutaki Station and Utano Station the train will drive through a 200m long sakura tunnel. Don’t miss this experience!
This list will hopefully help you planning your trip and finding the perfect sakura spot in Kyoto for you!