Activities & Adventure 6 MINS READ

The 10 Best Places To See Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto, Japan

The 10 Best Places To See Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto, Japan

Activities & Adventure 6 MINS READ
Boat navigating through a canal surrounded by cherry trees, in Kyoto.

Spring is a magical season in Kyoto. Between March and April, the city turns into a wonderland decorated with thousands of cherry trees, which are well-known for their alluring pink flowers.

You can find dreamy cherry blossoms in many places across Kyoto, including public parks, botanical gardens, glittering canals, and serene temples.

Here’s a finely curated list of the 10 most popular spots to see Kyoto cherry blossoms. Grab your camera and get ready to snap Insta-worthy pictures of the most beautiful spring blooms!

Find Places To Stay In Kyoto, Japan

The 10 Best Sakura Spots In Kyoto

Kyoto Botanical Gardens

Cherry trees in the Kyoto Botanical Gardens.

Founded in 1924, and home to home to about 120,000 plants from 12,000 species, the Kyoto Botanical Gardens is the oldest and most comprehensive botanical garden in Japan. This alluring garden is divided into 15 distinct areas, each harboring a unique collection of plants such as bamboo, camellias, and peonies, to name a few.

The Kyoto Botanical Gardens also plays host to a show-stopping cherry blossom garden, home to 500 cherry trees from 200 species, some of which are difficult to find anywhere else in the world.

Due to the wide variety of cherry trees, the viewing time of cherry trees at the Kyoto Botanical Gardens lasts longer than in other places in Kyoto. The late-blooming cherry blossoms can be enjoyed till mid-April.

Address: Shimogamo Hangicho, Sakyo Ward

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden

Couple under a cherry tree in the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden during spring.

Kyoto Gyoen is a quiet pocket of greenery surrounding the Imperial Palace. Home to more than 500 species of plants and about 50,000 trees, this lush garden dazzles visitors with its immense natural beauty and serene atmosphere.

Among Kyoto Gyoen’s spectacular collection of plants, there are camellias, magnolias, and red and white plum blossoms, as well as more than 200 giant trees that range from ginkgo to Japanese black pine.

Boasting a variety of natural delights that can be appreciated in every season, the garden is also a popular spot for marveling at stunning cherry blossoms. During the springtime, locals and tourists flock to this scenic location to catch a glimpse of hundreds of sakura trees, some of which are the weeping or shidare-zakura kind.

Address: 3 Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo Ward

Okazaki Canal

The Okazaki Canal surrounded by cherry trees, in Kyoto, during springtime.

Connecting the Lake Biwa canal network with the Kamo River, the Okazaki Canal is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan. When spring arrives, this Okazaki gets beautifully framed by pink-hued sakura trees, which contrast with the bright red bridge over the canal and the torii gate of Heian Shrine, which is located nearby.

Travelers can enjoy the view of the cherry blossoms by taking a scenic canal cruise, or by strolling along the shores of the Okazaki Canal

The best time for viewing the cherry blossoms at the Ozaki Canal is the end of March and the beginning of April.

Address: Okazaki Nishitennocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto

Maruyama Park

Maruyama Park filled with cherry trees, in Kyoto.

Located next to Yasaka-jinja Shrine, at the base of Kyoto’s eastern mountains, Maruyama Park is the oldest park in Kyoto. When spring arrives, the park’s endless expanses of green come alive with many cherry trees, whose pink and white colored flowers are a sight to behold.

In the first half of April, the cherry trees are in full bloom, and Maruyama Park park becomes Kyoto’s most popular for the famous cherry blossom viewing parties (hanami). The centerpiece of the park is a majestic weeping cherry tree, which gets lit up at the night.

Address: Maruyamacho, Higashiyama Ward

Ninnaji Temple

Kyoto's Ninnaji Temple surrounded by cherry trees.

First founded in AD 888 by Emperor Uda, and later reconstructed in the 17th century, Ninnaji Temple is one of Kyoto’s great temples that are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is best known for a rare type of cherry blossom called Omuro Cherry, which is much shorter in height, growing to around only 2 meters.

While the Somei Yoshino sakura flower, the most common type of cherry blossom in Japan, starts blooming in March, the rare Omuro Sakura often comes into full bloom in mid-April.

Of one thing we’re sure: the architectural magnificence of the temple contrasting with the cherry blossoms will take your breath away!

Address: 33 Omuroouchi, Ukyo Ward

Shimo Daigo-Ji Temple

Kyoto's Shimo Daigo-Ji Temple surrounded by cherry trees.

Daigo-Ji is one of Kyoto’s most important temples of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site, this large temple complex includes an entire mountainside and encompasses a variety of magnificent buildings like the elegant former residence of the head priest, and a five-storied pagoda, which is Kyoto’s oldest verified building.

The temple is also a prime location for marveling at cherry blossoms in Kyoto. During the 16th century, the feudal lords of the Sengoku period used to hold hanami parties with over 1,000 people in Daigo-Ji, which is dotted with approximately 1,000 sakura trees of several species.

Some of the temple’s most impressive weeping cherry trees stand in the gardens of the Reihokan Museum, and usually bloom in early April.

Address: 22 Daigohigashiojicho, Fushimi Ward

Hirano Shrine

Kyoto's Hirano Shrine framed by cherry trees at dawn.

Hirano Shrine was established in the year 794 when the capital was transferred to Heian-kyo (the ancient name for Kyoto) from Nagaoka-kyo. In 985 A.D, Emperor Kazan gave the order to plant several cherry trees in the Hirano’s garden, and since then the shrine has been holding a cherry blossom festival every year.

Every year on 10th April, tourists, and locals head over to Hirano for the Cherry Blossom festival. During the events, visitors can marvel at the shrine’s 500 trees of 60 different species of sakura surrounded by beautiful light displays.

Address: Kita Ward, Hirano Miyamotocho, 1


Kyoto's Geisha distric filled with cherry trees during springtime.

Following the course of the Shirakawa Canal, Shimbashi is often considered one of the prettiest streets in Kyoto. In springtime, this dreamy street comes alive with beautiful cherry blossoms strewn across the flagstones, especially between Nawate-dori and Kawabata-dori sections.

Keage Incline

Kyoto's Keage Incline dotted with cherry trees, during springtime.

The Keage Incline is a former cargo railway now used as public space that links Lake Biwa Canal to Kyoto’s Kamo River. Once used to transport boats between the Okazaki and higher elevation canals, this gently sloping pedestrian trail gets lined by approximately 100 cherry trees, which peak in early April. During that

Designated as National Historic Sitem, the trail can be accessed l by public transportation or by walking along the canal starting behind Nanzen-ji Temple and its aqueduct.

When visiting the Keage Incline, try to stick around for the night, as the cherry trees light up when the sun sets. Absolutely breathtaking!

Address: 339 Higashikomonozacho, Higashiyama Ward

Heian Shrine

Kyoto's Heian Shrine surrounded by cherry trees during springtime.

Built to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the capital’s foundation in Kyoto, Heian Shrine is one of the city’s most coveted sakura spots.

Behind the main buildings, visitors will find a variety of colorful plants. The garden’s main highlight is definitely the beautiful collection of late-blooming weeping cherry trees, whose stunning reflections can be seen in the pond’s glittering waters.

Address: Okazaki Nishitennocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8341, Japan


When is the cherry blossom season in Kyoto?

Kyoto cherry blossom season happens in the last week of March and the first two weeks of April in Kyoto (roughly between 20 March and 14 April).

Where is the best place for cherry blossom viewing in Kyoto?

The 10 best cherry blossom spots in Kyoto are:

  • Kyoto Botanical Gardens;
  • Kyoto Gyoen National Garden;
  • Okazaki Canal;
  • Maruyama Park;
  • Ninnaji Temple;
  • Shimo Daigo-Ji Temple;
  • Hirano Shrine;
  • Shimbashi;
  • Keage Incline;
  • Heian Shrine.

What is the weeping cherry tree?

Weeping cherry trees are a variety of ornamental cherry trees with pendulous “weeping” branches that create clusters of white and pink flowers.

Where can I see the weeping cherry trees in Kyoto?

Maruyama Park is Kyoto’s most famous place to see the weeping cherry tree.

When is the Cherry Blossom Festival in Kyoto?

The Cherry Blossom Festival happens every year on 10th April, in the Hirano Jinja Shrine.

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