Come the hallowed season of spring all off Japan waits with bated breath as one of the country’s most stunning natural transformations takes place in plain sight. Beloved and revered for its breathtaking beauty cherry blossoms are no ordinary flowering plants in Japan. In fact since time immemorial, these trees and their delicate pink shaded blossoms have captivated the hearts and minds of the Japanese people who consider the flower to be a national icon of sorts. Even admired by samurai fighters who saw their own fleeting existence reflected in the fragile flower that wilts away in its prime, it is safe to say that observing the trees sprout flowers each spring is a national obsession that has a centuries old history. Ironically it is not the Japanese capital that is renowned as the best venue to witness this highly anticipated phenomenon. It is the ancient capital of Kyoto with its sprawling shrines, gardens and stunning castles that is popular among locals and tourists for viewing the blossoms dance in the breeze.
The best spots to watch ‘Hanami” blooms as it is locally known is of course the Hirano Shrine which is renowned for the large variety of cherry trees that deck the temple grounds. The trees are decorated with vibrant bulbs and lit up as evening sets in creating a magical atmosphere that is hardly found anywhere else. Other hotspots include the Philosopher’s Path boardwalk that lies along the canal that links Nanzenji with the Silver Pavilion which is filled with hundreds of towering cherry trees glistening in the sunlight. Maruyama Park is also worth visiting as it is the venue of choice for Kyoto’s signature cherry blossom parties. With a mammoth weeping cherry tree as its centre piece the park transforms in to a fair ground with food vendors and tables under cherry trees as evening arrives. Weeping cherry trees are also found in the Heian Shrine garden as well as the Nijo Castle grounds which boast a wide range of the trees among the plants found in its sprawling garden. The Kyoto Botanical Garden is known for its forest full of weeping cherry trees while a glorious weeping tree is also found at the heart of the premises.
Water bodies that are bordered by breathtaking cherry blossoms include Kanogawa in central Kyoto and the Okazaki Canal where visitors can take a boat ride along the river to view the cherry blossoms decorating its fringes.
Travellers in search of luxury Kyoto serviced apartments will be more than pleased with the elegant Citadines Karasuma-Gojo Kyoto. Ideally located near the city’s CBD and the Gojo Subway station this stylish rest is one of the finest Kyoto accommodation providers in the region.
Author: Pushpitha Wijesinghe
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.