There is a time in late spring where women weave through flowers. Kimonos of color mirror the latest bloom in silk stitches. The trees are in celebration, decorating Kyoto with a sea of cherry blossoms.
Pink petal confetti fills the streets, sticks to stairways and submerges in puddles. The speckled show below whispers a gentle reminder of the ever turning carousal of life. Rose and gold dance along canal reflections, while branches sway above. Cherry ice cream is the sweet treat to try while walking from one garden to the next. Umbrellas fill shop windows and the air when gentle rain showers soak life into the season.
Young brides grasp their husband’s hands in cotton candy clouds. Sweet love is in the air with sakura framing two hearts joined. Pagodas stand tall, rising above Japan and into golden sunsets. This is a magic place with a fleeting pulse. Short-lived and stunning, a carnival of blush and beauty.
Mother nature is a painter here, dabbing a pointillism masterpiece. Kyoto is her canvas, stretching its paths through traditions and timeless scenes. While the future pushes through the city on train cars, the Japanese still treasure the ways of the past. Yet, everything here in this moment breathes in spring.
Early is the key factor with everything in Kyoto in the spring. Cherry blossom season is a very busy time of year so booking a room well in advance is important. 3+ months in advance is advisable. To experience the cherry blossoms peacefully it is worth rising early and arriving just before 8am at your most desired places. To view the Philosopher’s Path with minimal people, 7am would be a good start time.
Where to Stay
I stayed in Arashiyama while in Kyoto and can highly recommend it. It’s in the western outskirts of the city with a mountain view as its backdrop. A beautiful river lined with cherry trees leads you to an area filled with history. Kyoto is a big, busy city in areas, but this section is close to nature and a little slower paced. The famous bamboo forest is here along with many temples. I used airbnb and found a great place with an awesome host available here.
Favorite Sakura Spots
While the city is full of cherry blossoms, my favorite spots were:
The fuchsia filled Heian Shrine full of lattice work and reflecting pools. Best seen in April.
The Philospher’s Path with a lovely long canal to meditate along. Best seen in April.
The tree lined park across the river Ōi in Arashiyama.