Jun 1, 2014

Best Spot For Sakura Viewing (Kyoto Version)

Before my trip to Kyoto last April, I had googled the whole internet in search for the best spots for sakura viewing in Kyoto. I guess we were lucky that although we only arrived 5 days after the full bloom, the chill during the weekend actually 'freeze' the sakura and by the time we arrived on Sunday, many of the spots around Kyoto were still full of sakura. If not for the frozen state, I think most of the flowers would be gone in a week after full bloom.

Some of my favourite spots of sakura viewing are as follows:

                                                                                          Hirano Shrine

1. Hirano Shrine
This has to be my favourite of all spots as we came here for the Oukasai festival and end up taking lots of photos sitting under the sakura trees with pink sakura petals on the floor as carpet. It is romantic, pinkish and dreamy with the wind blowing the petals off the trees making it look like snowing sakura petals. Before coming here, I was determined that Philosopher's Path is my favourite

2. Philosopher's Walk/Path
This is my second favourite as we arrived at the right time with the sakura flowers still basically full bloom. Imagine the two sides of the river/canal/longkang/whatever with water inside were planted with sakura trees spanning about 3 kilometres long. It was like a scene straight out from Winter Sonata but here more like Sakura Sonata.

Nara Park

3. Nara Park (ok, technically this is not in Kyoto)
I wasn't that looking forward to visit Nara as there is nothing much to see (at least, that's what I assume and how wrong I am). But let me tell us, Nara is a must if you are in Kyoto or Osaka. Todaiji temple itself already makes the trip worth, I will explain that in another entry. The highlight got to be the Nara Park which is besides full with deer roaming around freely, is the entire park is full of sakura trees, every corner. I went crazy here with my tripod taking the photos of us, finally without people peeking and photobombing us from behind. I can imagine taking all the stunning pre-wedding photos here. Sigh, too bad  I am already married.

Garden inside Heian Shrine
4. Heian Shrine and the canal along the way
When we were in the bus enroute to Ginkakuji temple, we passed by Heian shrine and even from outside, the view of the cherry blossom trees along the canal was enough to make us go 'wow'. Most of the sakura are planted inside the garden and we had to pay to get into the garden. Otherwise, the shrine itself is free. There are many types of sakura trees inside the garden ranging from normal to weeping tree. Unfortunately, I feel that it was too crowded and we were not allowed to use the tripod inside here, otherwise, it would rank third.

5. Kiyomizudera temple
It's my favourite temple in Kyoto and although there were not much sakura trees left blooming here when we came, but I can't get the sight of the temple against the backdrop of the sakura flowers out from my head. I heard/read/saw from internet that the view is even more amazing during autumn. One day, I will come back to Kyoto for the autumn scenary.

Yozakura at Yasaka Shrine

6. Yasaka Shrine and Maruyama Park
We were here when it's dark so I can't judge how is the scenary of the cherry blossoms during day time but night time was superb. The pink flowers illuminated at night actually brought out the pink colour of the flowers even more as compare to day time. Coupled with such a happening place for yozakura (night viewing sakura) with lots of food stalls and locals having hanami under the pink trees, this place got to be in the list. The hightlight of the park is the weeping cherry tree in the middle. So beautiful yet at the same time looks a bit eery. Haha.

I planned most of the sights using this website


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