I have long dreamt of visiting Kyoto during cherry blossom season, and finally the day had arrived. Cherry blossom is know as “sakura” in Japanese, and its the country’s national flower. They symbolise the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is truly beautiful but that it is also very short.
Their blossom indicates the arrival of spring each year, and in Kyoto it is possible to see it from late March till mid April. Though the full bloom last only for a week or so. There are a few sites available with early forecast of sakura blossom through out Japan, my favorite is JNTO.
During sakura blossom season you’ll often see groups of people having picnics underneath the cherry trees. This is called “hanami” a custom that dates back many centuries.
Amongst all the places I visited from my list (I saved many temples and spots in my google map where I had a high chance of seeing many sakura trees), I really enjoyed the long walk along the famous philosopher’s path (even though the trees were not fully bloomed then.) The Gion neighbourhood was also special, with plenty of trees at their full bloom along the Takase river.
I rented a bicycle for a day to see the famous Kinkaku-ji temple, exploring its surroundings, and revisiting the famous Bamboo Forest in Arayashima. Honestly I found it to be the best way to move around town and most efficient while having fun! Kyoto is know as one of the best cities in the world to ride a bicycle, so I could not miss the opportunity to experience that (wish I would have thought of this sooner). I chose Kyoto Eco Trip, because it’s minutes from Kyoto train station and reservations are easily done online. I received a map with detailed information on where to ride and park.