Exploring the Finest Spots to Witness Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto


As spring unfolds its vibrant palette of pink and white hues, cherry blossom season, or sakura, emerges as one of Japan’s most cherished natural phenomena. For Sara Aiko, a seasoned cultural expert and founder of Curated Kyoto, discovering the best spots to admire these fleeting blooms in Kyoto is an art form. Here, she shares her top picks for experiencing the enchanting beauty of sakura in the ancient capital.

  1. Tranquility Amidst Splendor: Heian Shrine
    While Kyoto’s popular sakura spots teem with visitors, Heian Shrine offers a serene escape for those seeking solitude amidst nature’s beauty. Nestled within its sacred grounds, the shrine’s garden unfolds with mesmerizing sakura trees mingling harmoniously with other flora. Traverse the meticulously landscaped paths and immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance, away from the bustling crowds.
  2. Riverside Revelry: Kamo River
    For a quintessential hanami experience, join the locals along the picturesque banks of the Kamo River. From Sanjo Bridge to the Kitayama area, the riverbank transforms into a vibrant hub of activity as enthusiasts gather to celebrate the arrival of spring. Pack a bento filled with delectable treats from Kyoto’s renowned bakeries, sip on sake or wine, and bask in the enchanting beauty of sakura under the open sky.
  3. Illuminated Elegance: Kiyomizu Temple
    As twilight descends, Kiyomizu Temple casts a magical spell with its illuminated cherry blossoms. Wander through the temple’s grounds and marvel at the ethereal sight of sakura adorned in soft hues against the backdrop of Kyoto’s cityscape. For an enchanting evening, explore neighboring Kodaiji Temple and Maruyama Park, where cherry blossoms cast a spellbinding glow under the night sky.
  4. Hidden Gem: Haradani-en Garden
    Escape the urban bustle and discover Kyoto’s cherry blossom utopia at Haradani-en Garden. Tucked away in the northern hills, this exclusive sanctuary opens its gates to reveal a mesmerizing display of over 400 cherry trees in full bloom. Capture the essence of spring as you wander through this hidden gem, adorned with an exquisite palette of pink and white blossoms.
  5. Late-Blooming Beauty: Sanzen-in Temple
    For those who miss the peak bloom, Sanzen-in Temple offers a second chance to revel in sakura splendor. Nestled in the tranquil village of Ohara, this historic temple boasts a late-blooming cherry blossom spectacle. Amidst the temple’s sacred grounds, immerse yourself in the serene beauty of approximately 500 cherry trees, creating a breathtaking scene that lingers beyond Kyoto’s peak season.

With Sara Aiko’s expert recommendations, embark on a sakura-filled journey through Kyoto’s timeless landscapes, where the beauty of cherry blossoms invites moments of reflection, celebration, and wonder.


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