You can see cherry blossoms in bloom all over Kyoto during sakura season but there’s are several particular places which provide stunning cherry blossom panoramas
image © Jeffrey Friedl
There are cherry trees almost all over Kyoto which will be in bloom during the cherry blossom season, but I would recommend the following as the best places to see sakura in Kyoto:
Maruyama-koen Park: This is cherry blossom central, the most popular spot in Kyoto for cherry blossom viewing parties (hanami parties). On a weekend evening, the place will be packed – it’s a lot of fun if you have the energy.
The Path of Philosophy (Tetsugaku-no-Michi): The entire path is lined with cherry trees and they’re a beautiful sight when in bloom. Expect crowds during the day. An evening walk is highly recommended – the crowds have gone home and the trees are illuminated (especially at the northern end, near Ginkaku-ji Temple).
Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Palace Park): There are cherry trees throughout the park, but the highlights are the shidare-zakura (weeping cherry trees) at the north end of the park, just south of Imadegawa-dori, roughly midway between Karasuma and Kawaramachi.
Kamo-gawa River: The Kamo-gawa River is lined with cherry trees for much of its length. The trees south of Gojo-dori are often the earliest to bloom in the city. North of Imadegawa-dori, the river is lined with huge cherry trees, making it a popular hanami spot.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple: The grounds at this bustling temple are festooned with cherry trees. DO NOT MISS the evening light ups held here during cherry blossom season.
Shimbashi (Shirakawa): This is the loveliest street in Gion and it looks magical in cherry blossom season, particularly after dark. It will be packed, but it’s worth it. Check out the far west end, where it empties out onto Karasuma-dori – the cherry trees form a tunnel, which is illuminated by night.
Kyoto Botanical Gardens (Kyoto Shokubutsu-en): There are plenty of cherry trees here, some of which bloom much later than others in the city, making it a late-season favorite.
Ninna-ji Temple: The yae-zakura (eight-petalled cherries) bloom very late here, making it another late-season favorite.
That all said, wherever you go in Kyoto, you’re sure to see some magical cherry blossoms sights. I got some great cherry blossom photos a couple of years ago just by taking a stroll around my neighborhood.
Kyoto Cherry Blossoms Guide:
- When Do Cherry Blossoms Bloom In Kyoto?
- Where Is The Best Place To See Cherry Blossoms In Kyoto?
- Where To Stay In Cherry Blossom Season In Kyoto
- Where To Stay If Kyoto Is Fully Booked
- Best Places To See Cherry Blossoms In Kyoto Away from The Crowds
- Best Places In Kyoto For a Blossoming Viewing Party (Hanami Party)
- Kyoto 2-Day Cherry Blossom Itinerary
- Kyoto One-Day Cherry Blossom Off-The-Beaten-Track Itinerary
Visiting Tokyo or Osaka?
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- 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.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)