The Best Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) Spots in Kyoto

by Erina - TripleLights travel specialist

Sakura



Metaphorically, the fleeting nature of the cherry blossoms represents the short-lived nature of life. So why not take the time to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms while feasting on delicious food and drinks until the early morning hours? Below are some recommended of the best spots to enjoy the hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season in Kyoto.

Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is the perfect way to bid farewell to the winter and celebrate the beginning of spring. Beginning in late March and continuing until the middle of April, many people gather together to enjoy the company of friends and family under the blossoms, while eating and drinking. The festivities start in the day and can continue until late into the night and you will often find many vendors setting up food stalls alongside the trees.

A visit to Kyoto during this season is a great way to experience a long-standing Japanese tradition and also view the other cultural treasures of the city. Here are some of the best spots to experience the sakura blossoms in Kyoto.

Maruyama Koen Park


 
dsc01356
Image source: http://hinamatsuri.files.wordpress.com/2007/04/dsc01356.jpg

Located right next to Yasaka-jinja, Maruyama Park is undoubtedly the most popular spot for hanami viewing in early April. The park is marked with a 40-foot central tall weeping cherry tree, which gets lit up come nightfall until 1AM. A festive atmosphere comes alive during this season, as vendors set up their stalls and tables underneath the blossoms for people to indulge in food and drinks. Due to its popularity, it can get very noisy so if you are looking for more of a low-key and contemplative experience, we suggest you opt for The Philosopher's Path (see below).

Access


From Kyoto Station, you can take the 100 or 206 bus for 20 minutes and get off at Gion bus stop. Walk to Yasaka Shrine and the park is behind the shrine.

Map



View Larger Map

The Philosopher’s Path


 
3906_12
Image source: http://www.japan-guide.com

Located in the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district, the Philosopher’s Path follows a canal that is lined by hundreds of blossoming cherry blossom trees during the season. The canal was built during the Meiji Period to boost the economy and later on was used to power Japan's first hydroelectric plant. If you want to kill two birds with one stone and visit a few of Kyoto's famous temples, the path starts at Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) and ends in Nanzenji Temple. This walk is very scenic and there are also many restaurants, cafés and smaller temples along the path.

Access


The Philosopher's Path is located between Gingkakuji and Nanzenji neighbourhood. To get to Ginkakuji, take the 5, 17 or 100 bus for 30-45 minutes (depending on traffic) from Kyoto Station.

Map



View Larger Map

 

 

Arashiyama


 
3912_02
Image source: http://www.japan-guide.com

Although this area requires quite a trek away from the city center and it is worth the pilgrimage. Located in the Western outskirts of Kyoto, Arashiyama is particularly popular during the fall foliage and cherry blossom seasons. Around the Togetsukyo Bridge, you will find many shops and restaurants that you can stop in for a break from walking.

Access


Take a one-way ride with the JR (Japan Railways) Sagano Line from Kyoto Station to Saga-Arashiyama station. From the station, the walk to Central Arashiyama takes 5-10 minutes.

Map



View Larger Map

Kiyomizu-dera Temple


 
3901_01
Image source: http://www.japan-guide.com

The wooden stage/balcony of the temple will provide you with stunning views of the cherry blossoms, as well as a exquisite view of the entire city. Near the exit of the temple grounds is a pond that has a large number of sakura trees. Visiting Kiyomizu-dera is an ideal way to enjoy the cherry blossoms and also visit one of Kyoto's most famed sites.

Access



From Kyoto Station, take the 100 or 206 bus for 15-20 minutes until you reach Kiyomizu-michi bus stop. Then, walk uphill to reach the temple.

Map




View Larger Map



 

 

Need help planning your trip to Kyoto ?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Kyoto, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Kyoto


Plan your trip to Kyoto

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Kyoto

“ A wonderful day ”

Excellent
6 hours ago Traveler: André -   Tour Guide: Yumiko

Yumiko was such a pleasant person to have as a guide when we visited Kyoto. She has a very good level of English and a lot of knowledge about the sites we visited. She was easy to communicate with before we met, and she was very good at understanding what we wanted from our visit. We highly recommend her as a guide. And a guide was a valuable investment for the visit. Kind regards from Andrè and J...
read more

“ Kyoto and Nara ”

Excellent
14 hours ago Traveler: Dorothy -   Tour Guide: Toshiyo

We have traveled extensively and Toshiyo was the best tour guide. She was a most gracious and knowledgeable companion in visiting these historic sites. Toshiyo is very special and we are very grateful that we met her!
read more

“ Fabulous time in Kyoto touring with Mari ”

Excellent
4 days ago Traveler: Shelly -   Tour Guide: Mari

We have spent 2 days touring Kyoto with Mari. It has been a fabulous experience. Mari has been delightful and we all have had such a fun time together. Her English is excellent and since she has spent a lot of time in the US, there has been no language barrier. It has been an experience traveling all around Kyoto by train, subways and buses.. it was so nice exploring the area in thi...
read more

“ Fantastic day ”

Excellent
4 days ago Traveler: Steven -   Tour Guide: Hiroshi

Hiroshi was great. He was so knowledgeable and organized our trip so well. He came very prepared with umbrellas which were only needed once. His knowledge on the various temples and shrines really were appreciated and even some other tourists commented on how it really enhanced their visit as well. He also adapted well to our request to go see plum blossoms in bloom at one of the shrin...
read more

“ Fun Filled Day Trip ”

Excellent
5 days ago Traveler: John -   Tour Guide: Kaori

My wife and I decided to go with Kaori for a day tour in Kyoto and she was very responsive and tailor made a tour for us. The day with Kaori felt more like a long time friend was showing us around her city than a tour guide giving us a tour. We highly recommend her anyone. My wife has food allergies and she handled that very well and made everything seem flawless. Thank you Kaori.
read more

“ Short but Nice Time ”

Very Good
6 days ago Traveler: MANAV -   Tour Guide: KEI

We were on Business Trip to Tokyo and had 1 day free in our schedule, so we planned to visit Kyoto on Shinkansen Train. As soon we reached the station, Kei was there to receive us on the Platform. He greeted us warmly and took us for a half day city tour of Kyoto wherein we visited Bamboo Forest, Nishiki Market, a couple of significant temples and also had Indian Lunch which was quite good. He has...
read more

“ Nice Tour and Great Person ”

Excellent
1 week ago Traveler: Narendra -   Tour Guide: Toshiyo

Prior to the trip, Toshiyo and I communicated several times to finalize what we wanted to see in Kyoto. We did a day trip from Tokyo and she met us at the train station and we were off to our sights. She showed each site very well and used public transportation and taxis if needed. Her English is very very good and she was able to clearly understand and effectively communicate with us. We would ce...
read more

“ We had to cancel with Richard ”

Excellent
1 week ago Traveler: Ron -   Tour Guide: Richard

Unfortunately, our cruise to Japan was canceled due to Coronavirus and we had to cancel with Richard. He was absolutely terrific during the booking process and very understanding when we had to cancel. When we get back to Japan,. will definitely schedule with him again!
read more

“ Great one day trip to Kyoto with Toshiyo ”

Very Good
1 week ago Traveler: Amna -   Tour Guide: Toshiyo

We had a great one day trip to Kyoto with Toshi. She was very prompt to reply to all my questions before booking the trip. We were taking the early morning bulletin train from a Tokyo and she met us at the train station. We went to 5 places (Inari Shinto shrine, bamboo forest, imperial castle, golden pavilion and one more place). I am so glad that Toshi was with us to navigate the city as these si...
read more

“ Very good guide ans a kind woman ”

Very Good
1 week ago Traveler: Hervé -   Tour Guide: Akiko

Her English was very good and she was very sociable. She showed us some nice places we wouldn't have found otherwise. We also got some nice background information through her. The only downside was that she did not ask about our background knowledge, so some thi gs were a bit harder to understand. But in all a very nice experience!
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Kyoto

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started