May. 23, 2017 UPDATE

Erika and Vanessa's cherry blossom viewing at Daigo-ji Temple!

Sharing Kyoto’s writers Erika and Vanessa went to see the cherry blossoms at Daigo-ji Temple!
Erika[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]

Spring in Kyoto means cherry blossoms! I and other Sharing Kyoto writers went to many famous cherry blossoms viewing spots in Kyoto, but now I’m going to tell you about the one that left me with the most vivid impression: Daigo-ji Temple. 


The shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi held his famous hanami flower-viewing party right here at this temple in 1598. When I and Vanessa went to the temple almost 1000 cherry trees were in full bloom, and the whole temple was in a festive mood.



Daigo-ji Temple is located in Kyoto’s Fushimi-ku, and the temple grounds continue from the foot of the mountain all the way to the top. The area close to the top of the mountain is called Kami-Daigo, and the area close to the foot of the mountain is called Shimo-Daigo. The way up to the temple can be thought of as a little hike. 

 


The weeping cherry blossoms in front of the main gate were also in full bloom, and the weather was perfect for hanami. 

 


We went in right away, and bought our tickets. The tickets were on sale in front of Sanbo-in Temple where we lined up, and bought a ticket that let us go to the three main areas of Daigo-ji Temple: Sanbo-in Temple, the Reihokan museum, and the Five-storied Pagoda. The price was a bit steep at 1500 yen but when you consider that you get to see everything on these already almost too spacious grounds, it didn’t feel too dear.

 


First, to the sub-temple of Daigo-ji Temple, Sanbo-in Temple! There were cherry blossoms all around us.

 


This huge, 160-year-old weeping cherry tree in front of Sanbo-in Temple was in full bloom, and many people were taking pictures in front of it.

 


There were also souvenirs on sale. You can also get to see the inside of Sanbo-in Temple and the beautiful Japanese garden, but unfortunately, photography inside the temple is forbidden, so we don’t have any pictures of it.


 

Behind Sanbo-in Temple there is a rest area. Surrounded by cherry blossoms there are benches with a red cloth on them, and here you can sit down and enjoy the cherry blossoms at your leisure.

 


To use the rest area you have to order some food first. You can either get matcha with a Japanese sweet or a hanami bento box made by a famous Kyoto restaurant.

 


The cherry blossoms at Daigo-ji Temple are beautiful, but because of this, there are also many people, which is why I got a bit tired. It was nice to get to sit down and relax for a bit.

 

 

At Daigo-ji Temple you can, of course, see weeping and Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms, but you can also see others like yaezakura and kawazuzakura, and many of these cherry blossoms bloom at different times so no matter when during the cherry blossom season you go to Daigo-ji Temple, you are still going to get to see cherry blossoms in full bloom! Looking at all these cherry blossoms it is easy to know why this temple is such a famous cherry blossom viewing spot in Kyoto.

 


After enjoying the cherry blossoms at Sanbo-in Temple, it is time to head for the Reihokan museum. This Reihokan contains approximately 10,000 temple treasures, and they have a special exhibition of them in spring and autumn.

 


The best cherry tree around the Reihokan museum is this huge weeping cherry tree. When we were there it was at its best.

 


The branches of the weeping cherry tree in full blossom almost reached the ground!


There is a restaurant by the museum called Ugetsu Chaya, and by the restaurant there is a space where you can freely look at the cherry blossoms. Some people who had brought picnic blankets with them were sitting down, while others ate some snacks, and there were many people having a break here.

 


There were also some food stalls, and one of them even sold cherry blossom –taste soft serve.

 


Lastly, we started walking on this road that continues straight from the entrance of the temple to the Five-storied Pagoda and other important temple buildings.

 


This Five-storied Pagoda is a national treasure, and it is also the oldest wooden building in Kyoto. The quintessentially Japanese sight of the cherry blossoms together with the Five-storied Pagoda is incredible!

 


The contrast between the vermilion Kondo main hall that is by the Five-storied Pagoda and the cherry blossoms is beautiful too. The way up here was long, but seeing this sight makes you almost forget the fatigue.

 


I got too caught up in looking at the cherry blossoms that by the time we left the temple behind it has already been four hours since we entered it. I was feeling a bit tired, but after seeing the beautiful cherry blossoms we were very satisfied! I can see why so many people visit Daigo-ji Temple during the cherry blossom season.


A comment from the staff
Vanessa
Daigo-ji Temple, famous for their weeping cherry trees, is a spot many people visit every year when the cherry blossoms bloom. The grounds of the temple are vast, and there are many historic buildings, and it is all exceptionally pretty! There is a lot inside the temple: there is matcha, Japanese sweets, there are bento boxes for hanami, and then there are even souvenirs, so it will take you almost a whole day to see it all. This incredible temple is just a 15-minute walk from the closest subway station, and it really a great place to see cherry blossoms!
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