Kyoto’s most spectacular cherry blossom spot is little-known Haradani-en Garden. Located in northwest Kyoto, it’s a must-see for serious cherry blossom fans.
Haradani-en in full bloom – image © Chris Rowthorn
Few tourists have ever heard of Haradani-en – it’s a secret cherry blossom spot known only to the locals. While it’s a lovely garden and pleasant to visit at any time of year, it’s truly superb in cherry blossom season. While a regular Kyoto bus runs from Kitaoji Station (on the Karasuma subway line), it’s better to take the free shuttle bus that runs from in front of Shikichi-jinja Shrine (known to locals as “Wara-tenjin”). Wara-tenjin is on Nishioji-dori, about 10 minutes’ walk south of Kinkaku-ji Temple. The free shuttle runs frequently in both directions during cherry blossom season (late March to early April).
Lost in blossoms at Haradani-en – image © Chris Rowthorn
Name in English:
Name in Japanese:
36 Okitayama-Haradaniinui-cho, Kita-ku
Y300-1500 (depends on the condition of cherry blossoms)
Non-smoking area: Yes
2min walk from Haradani Bus Stop, Kyoto City Bus M1 from Kitaoji Station
This bus is full during the cherry blossom season. Please go by taxi.
Official Website (Japanese)
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 - World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)