Monday, 30 January 2017

Cherry Blossom Viewing in Kyoto, Japan

We stayed in the Sakura Terrace in Kyoto and it was one of the best decisions ever. It was within walking distance to the main Kyoto Station (10 minutes walk from the Hajicho West exit) so we could travel around easily on public transport. If you do not wish to walk that far, you could take the subway and alight at Kujo Subway Station (exit 2) and you will find yourself right in front of Sakura Terrace.

This place is definitely not a posh and luxurious hotel but it was amazing for the price we paid. It was much bigger than the Tokyo hotels and comes with a free drink every night so we could enjoy a glass of wine, cocktail or beer every night at the hotel bar after a long day outside. The room was clean and well-maintained, and there were convenience stores along the road leading to the Kyoto Station. We visited these convenience stores every night to buy drinks and random snacks. I am totally in love with the convenience stores in Japan!

Before I start on the cherry blossom viewing spots in Kyoto, I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed the days we spent in Kyoto. Kyoto was a lot less busy as compared to Tokyo and Osaka, and we could take long slow walks anywhere and just enjoy each other's company. I remember us walking hand in hand to AEON Mall near our hotel for dinner one night. The street was completely quiet, it was starting to get a little chilly, and he wrapped his arms around me. We walked in silence for a long while, not saying a word, and it was such a happy blissful moment. We broke the silence eventually by saying something funny and I remember our laughter ringing loud in that quiet night. :)

Gion District

This whole area looked like something out of a postcard. There were cherry trees everywhere and I am not even exaggerating. But there was one particular street with traditional wooden houses on both sides accompanied by a row of cherry blossoms in full bloom. This was where all the tourists flocked to for that perfect shot, and was also where we found ourselves pushed and shoved as the crowd surged ahead.

Japan, 〒605-0085 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Motoyoshichō, 京都府京都市東山区末吉町大和大路通四条上る

Maruyama Park

Maruyama Park was a short walk away from Gion and located right behind the Yasaka Shrine. I visited Maruyama Park in winter previously and it was one of my favourite spots because it was so quiet and peaceful. Fast forward to the hanami season and I was in for a huge shock. Maruyama Park was crazy crowded. There were tourists everywhere, there were tourists plucking cherry blossoms off the branches and stuffing them into plastic bags (wtf?), and there were tourists shaking the branches for the effect of falling petals.

Japan, 〒605-0071 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Maruyamacho, 473他

The famous weeping cherry tree in Maruyama Park. 

But Maruyama Park was truly beautiful if you could get away from the crowd which was what we did. We found a small path which led to the top of a little hill where a lone pavilion stood among the blooming cherry trees. No rowdy crowds, no shouting, no madness. Just lots of greenery, cherry trees and fresh air. We stopped for a short break here and enjoyed the fresh air, the tranquility, and the peace. It was perfect. 


By the time we reached Kiyomizudera, I had accepted the fact that it would be crowded at all the cherry blossom viewing spots in Kyoto so I was less surprised by the throngs of tourists when I reached Kiyomizudera. The scenery was beautiful at Kiyomizudera but I could not find a quiet spot at all. If anybody knows of  a good spot in this area to just enjoy the cherry blossoms quietly, do drop me a message!

294 Kiyomizu 1-chōme, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862, Japan

I did not really enjoy my time at Kiyomizudera but I enjoyed the walk from Kiyomizudera back to the train station. A quiet road with cherry trees on one side. 

Togetsukyo Bridge

My favourite cherry blossom viewing spot in Kyoto. We made it to the Togetsukyo Bridge at dawn so the crowd had not arrived yet. I heard it could get crazy crowded in the day so I was very happy that we were able to enjoy some quiet moments here together. The park beside the Togetsukyo Bridge was filled with cherry trees and it was such a pretty sight! There were only a handful of visitors that early in the morning so we had so much space to roam around freely without having to jostle with the crowd. I seriously think waking up early to visit parks and touristy places might really be a good thing. Have to thank the boyfriend for dragging me out of bed so early in the morning to catch this beautiful sight!

Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-0000, Japan

For what to do (in addition to enjoying the beautiful cherry blossoms) and eat in Kyoto, visit here.

For cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo, visit here.

For cherry blossom viewing in Osaka, visit here.

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