The Best Cherry Blossom Spots to Visit in Kyoto
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Maruyama Park
  2. Philosopher's Path
  3. Heian Shrine
  4. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
  5. Kiyomizu-dera
  6. Imperial Palace Gardens
  7. Nishinomaru Garden
  8. Hirano Shrine
  9. Daigo-ji
  10. Ninna-ji

Imagine you're on a journey to the heart of Japan, specifically to the historical city of Kyoto. You're there for one main reason—to marvel at the breathtaking display of cherry blossoms in Kyoto. This spectacle, which is a symbol of the ephemeral beauty of life, is a major event that draws people from all corners of the world. So, where should you go to witness this magical experience? Fret not, because we've got you covered. Here are the top spots that you should visit to see the cherry blossoms in Kyoto.

Maruyama Park

First on our list is Maruyama Park, a popular public park in the heart of Kyoto—famous for its spectacular cherry trees. The park is a favorite among locals and tourists alike when it comes to viewing the cherry blossoms in Kyoto. Here's a little taste of what you can expect:

  • Yozakura: Ever witnessed cherry blossoms at night? Maruyama Park offers a unique experience called Yozakura—where the cherry trees are illuminated after sunset. This breathtaking scene creates a magical and unforgettable atmosphere.
  • Shidarezakura: One thing you can't miss is the large weeping cherry tree (known as Shidarezakura) at the center of the park. During the blooming period, it becomes a stunning centerpiece that's hard to overlook.
  • Food stalls: While you're taking in the views, you can also grab a bite from the various food stalls dotted around the park. From traditional Japanese snacks to mouth-watering desserts, there's something for everyone.

So, if you're planning to catch the cherry blossoms in Kyoto, make sure Maruyama Park is at the top of your list. With its beautiful ambiance and vibrant energy, it certainly sets the bar high for the other spots on our list.

Philosopher's Path

Next, we stroll down to the Philosopher's Path. Just the name sparks curiosity, doesn't it? This quaint and peaceful pathway is another great spot to see the cherry blossoms in Kyoto. It's named after a famous Japanese philosopher, Nishida Kitaro, who used to meditate while walking this route. Here's what to expect:

  • Cherry tree-lined canal: The pathway runs along a canal lined with hundreds of cherry trees. When in full bloom, the trees form a pink tunnel that reflects beautifully on the water. It's a sight for the eyes and food for the soul.
  • Teahouses and boutiques: Along the path, you'll find charming teahouses, boutiques, and cafes. You can take a break, sip some traditional Japanese tea, and soak in the ambiance. Plus, they offer a great vantage point for viewing the cherry blossoms.
  • Temples and shrines: The pathway is dotted with various temples and shrines, giving you a chance to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Kyoto while enjoying the cherry blossoms.

Walking down the Philosopher's Path during cherry blossom season is nothing short of a dream. It's a gentle reminder of how beauty and serenity can co-exist. This serene spot undeniably deserves a spot on your cherry blossoms in Kyoto itinerary.

Heian Shrine

Now, let's talk about the Heian Shrine, another must-visit place to admire the cherry blossoms in Kyoto. This shrine is not just a spiritual center, but also a paradise for cherry blossom lovers. So, what makes this place unique?

  • Vast garden: Heian Shrine is known for its expansive garden. Imagine walking around a large garden filled with different species of cherry trees in full bloom. It's like stepping into a painting!
  • Benches and ponds: The garden has several benches where you can sit and enjoy the cherry blossom view. There are also several ponds where the cherry blossom petals gently float, creating a mesmerizing sight.
  • Architectural beauty: The shrine itself is a beautiful representation of Kyoto's traditional architecture. The cherry blossoms complement the shrine's grandeur, creating a picture-perfect scene.

So, if you're planning to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto, the Heian Shrine should definitely be on your list. It gives you the chance to experience the beauty of cherry blossoms while exploring the rich culture and architecture of Kyoto. Isn't that a wonderful combo?

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Next stop on our cherry blossom journey in Kyoto is the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Now, you might be wondering, "A bamboo grove? I thought we were talking about cherry blossoms!" But hear me out — this grove has a lot more to offer than just bamboos.

  • Different backdrop: The towering bamboos provide a unique backdrop for the cherry trees. The contrast of the white and pink cherry blossoms against the deep green bamboo is truly a sight to behold.
  • Cherry trees by the river: The nearby Katsura River is lined with cherry trees. Walking along the river under a canopy of cherry blossoms is an experience you will not want to miss.
  • Perfect for a bike ride: If you're the adventurous type, why not rent a bike and explore the area? The path through the grove, lined with cherry trees, is perfect for a leisurely bike ride.

So, if you're looking for something a little different, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is the place to be. It's not just about the cherry blossoms in Kyoto, it's about experiencing them in a unique way. And who knows, you might even get a great photo or two for your social media!


Let's not forget about Kiyomizu-dera when talking about the best cherry blossom spots in Kyoto. This iconic temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit during the cherry blossom season.

  • Breathtaking views: Perched on a hill, Kiyomizu-dera offers panoramic views of the city and the cherry blossoms. It's an excellent spot for cherry blossom viewing, also known as "hanami".
  • Nighttime illumination: Think the cherry blossoms are beautiful during the day? Wait until you see them lit up at night! Kiyomizu-dera is one of the few places in Kyoto that offers nighttime cherry blossom viewing. It's a magical experience that you really shouldn't miss.
  • A sea of cherry blossoms: With over 1,500 cherry trees, Kiyomizu-dera literally becomes a sea of cherry blossoms in spring. The temple grounds are covered in a blanket of pink and white blossoms, making it one of the most stunning cherry blossom spots in Kyoto.

Make sure you have a good camera because you're going to want to capture every moment at Kiyomizu-dera. Trust me, it's not just another temple visit. It's an encounter with nature's beauty, a dance with the cherry blossoms in Kyoto. And it's something you'll remember for years to come.

Imperial Palace Gardens

Imperial Palace Gardens, oh what a place! If you're in Kyoto during the cherry blossom season, this is one place you can't afford to miss.

  • The perfect picnic spot: Imagine having a picnic under a canopy of cherry blossoms. Sounds dreamy, right? The Imperial Palace Gardens offer plenty of spaces for you to lay down your picnic blanket, unpack your bento box, and enjoy a meal amidst the cherry blossoms in Kyoto.
  • Historical significance: As the name suggests, these gardens are part of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. So, you're not just taking in the beauty of cherry blossoms, you're also soaking in a bit of Japanese history.
  • A photographer's paradise: The combination of traditional Japanese architecture, manicured gardens, and cherry blossoms create a picturesque setting that photographers will love. Whether it’s professional or just for Instagram, the Imperial Palace Gardens will give you shots to remember.

You might be thinking, "There are so many cherry blossom spots in Kyoto, why should I choose the Imperial Palace Gardens?" Good question. The answer is simple: It's not just about the cherry blossoms. It's about experiencing the blend of nature and history that makes Kyoto so unique. It's about creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Nishinomaru Garden

Now, onto our next breathtaking spot for cherry blossoms in Kyoto: Nishinomaru Garden. This garden is a sight to behold, especially during the cherry blossom season.

  • Unforgettable views: Nishinomaru Garden is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll under the cherry blossoms. You'll be treated to an unforgettable view of the Osaka Castle in the background. Could there be a better setting for cherry blossom viewing?
  • Nighttime spectacle: The cherry blossoms in Nishinomaru Garden are illuminated at night, creating a captivating spectacle. Imagine the soft glow of cherry blossoms against the night sky. It's a scene right out of a fairy tale.
  • Abundance of trees: With over 600 cherry trees, Nishinomaru Garden offers an abundance of cherry blossoms. The sheer number of trees makes this spot quite a sight during the peak bloom period.

So, if you're planning to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto, make sure Nishinomaru Garden is on your list. The garden's beauty, coupled with the backdrop of the Osaka Castle, will leave you spellbound. Who knows, you might even find yourself returning to this magical place year after year, just like many others do.

Hirano Shrine

Let's move on to another enchanting spot to view cherry blossoms in Kyoto: the Hirano Shrine. This shrine, brimming with historical charm and natural beauty, is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

  • History and beauty: The Hirano Shrine dates back over a thousand years, making it a place steeped in history. The cherry trees here have been celebrated since 985 AD, making the cherry blossom viewing tradition at this shrine one of the longest in Kyoto.
  • Cherry Blossom Variety: Unlike most sites, the Hirano Shrine hosts a variety of cherry trees. This means an extended cherry blossom viewing season, so even if you're a tad late, you'll still catch the beautiful blossoms.
  • Cherry Blossom Festival: Every year, the shrine hosts a cherry blossom festival, drawing in large crowds. It's a vibrant event that reflects the local culture and traditions surrounding cherry blossoms in Kyoto.

So, if you're seeking a place that combines history, culture, and the beauty of cherry blossoms in Kyoto, the Hirano Shrine should be on your itinerary. It offers a unique cherry blossom viewing experience that you'll remember for years to come. And who knows, maybe you'll join the locals in their annual festival!


Now, let's venture to the southeast of Kyoto to visit Daigo-ji. This temple complex is another must-visit spot if you're chasing cherry blossoms in Kyoto.

  • World Heritage Site: Daigo-ji is not just famous for its cherry blossoms, but it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its historical significance and cultural value add to the charm of the location.
  • Breathtaking Scenery: The temple complex offers a stunning backdrop to the cherry blossoms. The five-storied pagoda, particularly, framed by cherry blossoms, presents a picturesque scene that's a delight for photographers.
  • Mountain Setting: Daigo-ji is nestled on a mountain. The trek up offers a rewarding view of cherry blossoms in Kyoto, coupled with a panoramic view of the city.

Daigo-ji is not just a temple; it's a journey. A journey that will take you through Kyoto's history, culture, and natural beauty. So, if you're up for some adventure and want to indulge in the beauty of cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Daigo-ji is the place to be.


Ready for more cherry blossoms in Kyoto? Let's head over to Ninna-ji, a paradise for cherry blossom lovers.

  • Omuro Cherry Trees: Ninna-ji is home to the famous 'Omuro Cherry Trees'. These trees are unique because they bloom later than most other cherry blossoms in Kyoto. So, if you miss the usual cherry blossom season, Ninna-ji offers a second chance to witness these floral beauties.
  • Imperial Palace: The temple complex once served as an Imperial Palace. You'll find elements of royal architecture that give a regal touch to your cherry blossom viewing experience.
  • Tranquil Environment: Ninna-ji offers a peaceful and serene environment. It's a perfect place to enjoy cherry blossoms in a calm and quiet setting.

So, if you're looking for a late bloom or a peaceful cherry blossom viewing, Ninna-ji is your spot. It's a chance to experience the royal past of Kyoto while basking in the beauty of cherry blossoms. Who knew cherry blossom viewing could be a time-traveling experience?

If you enjoyed exploring the best cherry blossom spots in Kyoto and are inspired to step out of your comfort zone for more unique travel experiences, check out the workshop 'How To Be Bold & Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone' by Debbie Knox-Hewson. This workshop will equip you with the skills and confidence to take on new adventures and create unforgettable memories.