Cherry blossom season is THE time to be in Kyoto. When the cherries bloom – sometime in late March or early April – the effect is spectacular. The city becomes incredibly beautiful and the population becomes almost giddy with the joy of springtime. Here’s what you need to know for the Kyoto 2014 cherry blossom season.
image © Damien Douxchamps
Timing Your Visit To Coincide With The 2014 Cherry Blossom Season
The cherry blossoms come into bloom anytime from late March until early April. And they may stay in full bloom for up to two weeks or last only a day or two before being washed away by a strong rain. Thus, seeing the blossoms at their best requires a good bit of luck. For more on when the cherry blossoms bloom in Kyoto, see the When Is Cherry Blossom Season In Kyoto page.
What To Do During The Cherry Blossom Season In Kyoto?
The obvious answer is simply this: enjoy them! When they are at their best, they are really spectacular. The Japanese call this “mankai” (which is written with the two Chinese characters for “fully open”). You can check out any of the cherry blossom spots I’ve written about in Where Is The Best Place to See Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto?
You can also do what the Japanese do, and that is join a cherry blossom viewing party, which is known as a hanami party. For details, see The Best Places In Kyoto For a Cherry Blossom Viewing (Hanami) Party.
image © Damien Douxchamps
How Can You Find Out Where The Best Blossoms Are?
By their very nature, the cherry blossoms are ephemeral and the best locations change from year to year. That said, I’ve listed some consistently rewarding spots for cherry blossoming viewing on my Best Places To See Cherry Blossoms In Kyoto page.
Of course, the best places also tend to be the most crowded, so I’ve also put together a list of the best places to see cherry blossoms away from the crowds.
Where To Stay In Kyoto During Cherry Blossom Season?
Given the amount of people in Kyoto during cherry blossom season, it pays to think carefully about where you will actually stay in the city, so you can move around quickly and easily. I’ve listed what I think are the best situated accommodations for viewing the cherry blossoms if you need some ideas.
Almost every hotel, ryokan and guesthouse owner will be able to point you in the direction of where the best blossoms can be found. And, if you’re lucky enough to get a taxi driver who speaks a bit of English, ask him. Taxi drivers ALWAYS have the best and freshest information on where the blossoms are really going off. As a rule, the blossoms often start blooming first along the banks of the Kamo-gawa River, south of Gojo-dori Street. Then, they gradually open further and further north. And don’t despair if you get to town late in the season: The cherry blossoms at Ninna-ji Temple often stay in bloom a good week or so later than those in the rest of town.[Cherry Blossoms Kyoto Guide] [Cherry Blossoms Hotels]
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings on Skyscanner
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Get travel insurance for your Japan trip - book online with World Nomads