Mar. 09, 2017 UPDATE
Recommended places to visit during cherry blossom season
Cherry blossoms within the city
Various parts of Kyoto have different vibes. Cherry blossoms line the beautiful Kamo River, also an excellent location for a nice walk. On one side of the river, there’s the historical district of Gion, and on the other side is the Shijo-Kawaramachi, the downtown area of Kyoto. Gion is famous for maiko, geisha, ochaya (tea houses where maiko and geisha work) and Minami-za (Kabuki Theater). Stone pavement of Gion looks extra beautiful during spring season. In the northern part of Gion is the Shirakawa River area where many gather to enjoy the scenery and take pictures. The canal is lined with narrow streets, and the area is full of high-end restaurants and ochaya tea houses. People visit this area because the incredible scenery of the area represents Kyoto. During the cherry blossom season, the area flourishes so beautifully and creates wonderful scenery for photographers. There is a good chance of running into a maiko or a geisha in this area.
Shirakawa RiverLocated in northern part of Gion, this area has one of the most scenic atmospheres of Kyoto. Many restaurants in machiya, or Kyoto-style town houses, line this area because of the wonderful view of the Shirakawa River and the rich history of Gion. Maiko and geisha of Gion visit Tatsumi Daimyoujin（辰巳大明神）located right by Shirakawa River to pray for success in dance performances. When cherry blossoms bloom, the lights in the shrine illuminate a beautiful sight at night. During the cherry blossom season, the area is extremely beautiful, filled with pink blossoms, and with the wind, the petals elegantly fall into the river. It’s a must-go place to take pictures during the full bloom and also when the petals are falling.
Takase RiverWe hope visitors will come across the Takase River when they are in central Kyoto area. It is actually not a river but a canal with one end around Nijo-Kiyamachi and runs along Kiyamachi Street. It’s easily accessible from Shijo-Kawaramachi, a major street for shopping and dining. The canal was once an important part of Kyoto, transporting various goods to the city, but now this beautiful area consists of many restaurants and bars that open their doors every night. Somei Yoshino cherry trees also line up the canal putting all those who walk along it in awe. The calm flow of water and cherry blossoms match so well, and when the wind blows, a storm of petals will fly in the air and into the streaming canal. Lights illuminating the blossoms create a charming ambiance to take a walk in after a nice dinner. We recommend that you enjoy a night out by the Takase River!
Miyako Odori (dance)Get a taste of tradition and watch the dance performed by the geisha and maiko of Gion district. First Miyako dance was performed in 1872, and the tradition still continues in Gion. Beauty of four seasons is projected in the performance. Notice the change in seasons and the beautiful kimono worn by real geisha and maiko. Tickets sell out fast during cherry blossom season, so do consider getting a reservation in advance!
Gion KomoriGion Komori is located right by the Shirakawa River of Gion making it an excellent place to enjoy some Japanese sweets and matcha green tea in an environment filled with cherry blossoms. It’s a popular place among both tourists and locals especially during the spring season.
KAWA CAFEWe suggest stopping by for some good eats within the cherry blossom areas. How about in a Kyoto-style house (machiya) with cherry blossoms in sight? Along the Takase River, and with the magnificent view of the Kamo River, Kawa Café offers bistro-style food such as quiches, pizza, and has great drink menu. All of the staff can speak a language other than Japanese, so except no language barrier here.