Kyoto is renowned for its glorious seasonal flowers, but none capture the imagination quite as much as cherry blossoms. With otherworldly beauty that bursts into bloom before disappearing mere days later, these fleeting flowers are the perfect embodiment of the impermanence of life.
Our Kyoto cherry blossom calendar shows you the optimum times to view sakura in different parts of the prefecture. To make the most of the experience, we recommend choosing a quieter spot outside of Kyoto City, where you can fully immerse yourself in the magnificence of the blossoms.
Here are eight stunning yet secluded spots to enjoy the cherry blossoms in Kyoto.
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◆Yamaga Castle Park
Located in Ayabe City, Yamaga Castle Park has been designated one of the 200 best nature spots in Kyoto Prefecture. And cherry blossom season is when you’ll see it at its greatest. On Sundays in early April the park holds its annual Sakura Festival, where you can listen to traditional Yamaga drums and tuck into local cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in mochimaki, a ritual in which mochi (rice cakes) are thrown over a crowd and people try to catch them for good luck!
Yamaga Castle Park
Yamaga Castle Park in Ayabe City, Kyoto Prefecture, is one of the “200 Best Nature Spots in Kyoto” because you can enjoy the nature of the park year round, with plums and cherry blossoms in spring, fr …
This glorious castle stands proud over the town of Fukuchiyama, and in spring, the path leading up to it is lined with pink cherry blossoms. Constructed from a former fortress using state-of-the-art techniques in the 1500s, parts of the original walls are still standing. The keep itself is a reconstruction, which now houses a museum. Meanwhile, the castle’s tower offers picturesque views of the surrounding countryside in all directions – a panorama made all the more exquisite when dotted with colourful sakura flowers.
Before Fukuchiyama Castle, there was Yokoyama Castle, a fortress of the Yokoyama, the local ruling family. Akechi Mitsuhide, the samurai who subjugated Tamba, rebuilt the fortress using state-of-the-a …
Around 1,500 Somei-yoshino cherry trees grow along the banks of the Nanatani-gawa river in Kameoka, their delicate branches arching elegantly over the water. You can stroll beneath a tunnel of their blossoms on Yawaragi-no-Michi for about a kilometre, or head into the adjacent Sakura Park to admire an impressive 28 different varieties of cherry tree. The park also hosts an annual Cherry Blossom Festival, as well as enchanting light-up events after dark.
Nanatani-gawa River (Yawaragi Road)
Approximately 1,500 blossoming Somei-yoshino cherry trees line both banks of the Nanatani-gawa River, extending for about 1 km and making this a popular blossom-viewing location. Adjacent to the river …
This spacious park sits on the shores of Yura River, close to the striking 61.4-metre-high Ohno Dam. Local residents have planted approximately one thousand cherry trees in the grounds, which transform the area into an ocean of pink each spring. Within the park, you’ll find plenty of open green space for picnics, as well as a six-kilometre walking route that takes you all around the lake. Perfect for admiring the gorgeous scenery from every angle!
Ohno Dam Park
Ohno Dam Park, located in Nantan City in Woodland Kyoto, is located on the shores of Ohno Dam Lake. Surrounded by abundant nature, it is called the “Rainbow Lake” has been selected as one of the “100 …
Situated at the spot where three rivers merge to create the Yodo-gawa river, this waterside park bursts into colour during sakura season. A line of cherry trees runs for about 1.4 kilometres on either side of a scenic footpath, surrounding you with dainty pink blossoms. Bring a blanket to enjoy a picnic on the lawn beneath the branches, or head up into the observation tower for a bird’s-eye view of the ribbon of flowers.
Yodo River Park Sewaritei District
This park is located to the north of Iwashimizu Hachimangu Station on the Keihan Line, just across Goko Bridge. Here, you’ll find a line of cherry blossom trees that extends for about 1.4 kilometers. …
This secluded hillside temple is well worth making the trip to when the sakura are in bloom. Offering sweeping views out over the plains of the town of Ide, its grounds are wreathed in clouds of weeping cherry blossom trees. Some of these are reputed to be over 280 years old, and their cascading petal-laden branches are so beautiful that the prefecture has designated them a natural monument. They’re actually relations of the weeping cherry trees in Maruyama Park, in the centre of Kyoto City. But unlike those, you won’t have to battle the crowds to see them!
Standing on a hill and to the south of Tamatsuoka Shrine, Jizozen-in Temple offers a sweeping view over the plains of the town of Ide. The glorious clouds of weeping cherry blossoms that bloom here ar …
This ancient shrine was founded in 718, and is particularly popular with those seeking a good harvest, academic achievement, or safe travel on the roads. A 200-metre path runs from the majestic stone torii gate at its entrance to the main building – which is designated an Important Cultural Property – and both sides are lined with cherry trees. When the flowers bloom, they create an ethereal ceiling of pink above the route. And at night, bonfires are lit to allow you to experience the beauty of the blossoms in a whole new way.
Located in Muko City in the Otokuni Bamboo Grove area of Kyoto Prefecture, Muko shrine is an ancient shrine founded in 718 and is said to be a shrine for good harvest, academic achievement, and traffi …
Dedicated to a Japanese poet, scholar and politician called Sugawara no Michizane, Nagaoka Tenmangu is the place to go to pray for success in your studies or career. Kinkei-en, the shrine’s traditional Japanese garden, is also a fabulous location to view cherry blossoms. The sight of the ephemeral flowers reflected in the pond is especially captivating. And if you spot the statue of a bull whilst exploring, be sure to pet its head – this is said to increase your wisdom!
Nagaoka Tenmangu Shrine
Nagaoka Tenmangu is a shrine in Nagaokakyo City, Kyoto Prefecture, not far from Kyoto City and close to Uji—the region of Kyoto famous for matcha green tea—and the famous Otokuni Bamboo grove. Nagaoka …