Take advantage of springtime in Japan and journey to the picturesque city of Kyoto to witness cherry blossoms in full bloom. Visit Japan from late March to early April to see the stunning sakura (cherry blossom) in full flourish. Our friends over at KKday have put together this list of seven best spots to see sakura in Kyoto, a handy tool for navigating your way through the city.
Here’s where you need to go for the best sakura viewing in 2018. Also, check out our 14 Best Kyoto Hotels for Cherry Blossom Season.
1. Maruyama Park
To visit Kyoto’s most popular spot for viewing cherry blossoms, head to Maruyama Park in the Higashiyama District. Visit this stunning park and witness the famed shidarezakura (weeping cherry tree) that’s illuminated at night. For a unique experience, dress up in a traditional kimono and hop on a rickshaw to ride through picturesque Maruyama Park.
2. Okazaki Canal
Stroll along the footpath beside the Okazaki Canal and gaze at the towering cherry blossom trees, where you can capture images of the vibrant pink flowers against the picturesque waterway. Stop at the torii gate of Heian Shrine to marvel at the striking red landmark surrounded by cherry blossoms.
3. Philosopher’s Walk (Tetsugaku-no-michi)
Wander along Philosopher’s Walk and soak up the scenery, as this stone walkway in north Kyoto follows the Lake Biwa Canal. Enjoy gorgeous views of cherry blossom trees lining the path and stop to explore temples, shrines, cafes and shops along the way. Book a tour to see Philosopher’s Walk and the historic Higashiyama district from the comfort of a rickshaw.
4. Nijo Castle
Head to Nijo Castle to see some of the city’s history, as it was built during the Edo Period and was used as an imperial palace before being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Behold the stone walls and moat that circle the impressive castle and marvel at the traditional architecture and sakura trees featured in the scenic gardens.
5. Kyoto Botanical Garden, Central Kyoto
Stop for a picnic lunch and cherry blossom viewing in the Kyoto Botanical Garden. Take in views of cherry blossom groves, as well as fields of vibrant flowers and a greenhouse filled with tropical plants.
For some of the best cherry blossom views, venture up to Arashiyama and board the Sagano Romantic Train. The nostalgic train runs along the Hozugawa River, between Arashiyama and Kameoka. Observe the captivating scenery of the Hozugawa River, which is dotted with the enchanting sakura.
7. Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Palace Park)
Take a stroll around the grounds of Kyoto’s Imperial Palace Park to gaze at traditional buildings and towering cherry blossoms in the gardens. Observe sakura against the backdrop of impressive Japanese architecture. For a unique viewing experience, hop on a helicopter tour and get a bird’s-eye view of the sakura in Imperial Palace Park.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see these incredible flowers in person, as witnessing the beauty of cherry blossoms in bloom in Japan is a true bucket-list experience.
7 Best Spots for Seeing Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto