Mar. 14, 2018 UPDATE
Kyoto, a pink wonderland of cherry blossoms, is full of places you have to have on your bucket list
Relaxing cherry blossoms for life in retirement
After retiring, you have a lot of time to travel! After spending many years locked up in an office cubicle, it’s time to enjoy life to the fullest! Maybe you have come to Kyoto before but couldn’t get time off during the cherry blossom season. But now you get to see the beautiful sights of Kyoto, and if you want to avoid the crowds, we have some spots that bloom later than most, so you get to see them at your own pace. These places offer something Zen-like to you, and they’re sure worth a visit, but so is the sushi restaurant I have chosen for you too!
Kyoto Imperial PalaceThe Kyoto Imperial Palace is not far from central Kyoto, and it has got a vast garden where you can enjoy the beauty of nature in spring. The beauty of both the flowers and the cherry blossoms is sure to make both your mind and body feel relaxed!
There are many tables and benches at the garden of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, so I recommend taking some snacks with you, and enjoying them under the blue skies of Kyoto with the cherry blossoms! There are also many places in the garden where you can enjoy traditional Japanese architecture, so I hope you will enjoy the great views of the cherry blossoms; I’m sure you’ll love this place!
Ninna-ji TempleNinna-ji is known for its late-blooming cherry trees called the Omurozakura, so if you can’t make it to Kyoto in late March or early April, your best chance might be Ninna-ji Temple, where sometimes you still get to see beautiful cherry blossoms in the middle of April.
Entrance to Ninna-ji Temple is usually free (except the garden), but during the cherry blossom season, there is an entrance fee. But the views of the cherry blossoms and the majestic Five-Storied Pagoda are surely worth it, and there are not too many people at the temple, so you can look at the blossoms in peace.
Kamigamo ShrineKamigamo Shrine has a special, mysterious feel of nature to it, and it’s also a World Heritage Site. The shrine is a bit further away from downtown, so I recommend taking a taxi to it, as the bus ride is quite long.
The vast grass fields and beautiful pink cherry blossoms of the shrine form a harmony that is hard to pass by; it feels like you could spend days just sitting here! There is no pressure here, you just need to look at the pretty cherry blossoms, and let them carry all your worries away. The shrine is very close to the Kamo River, so you could also take a short walk there before heading back.
Haradani-en GardenHaradani-en is an exceptional garden, but its location on top of a small mountain makes it hard to reach by bus, so I recommend taking a taxi (from Kinkaku-ji Temple it’s an under 10-minute taxi-ride to Haradani-en). The garden is really big, and there are many different types of cherry trees at it, so you get to enjoy the cherry blossoms of Kyoto to the fullest.
At Haradani-en you can also find wild varieties of cherry trees, as well as the most famous Somei Yoshino trees. Almost everyone who has been to this garden says good things about it and its beauty, so how about working it into your itinerary?
Sushi Mizuki - The Ritz-CarltonAt The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, they have four Japanese restaurants, one for kaiseki, one for tempura, and one for sushi. The restaurant has a special feel to it, which you can feel from the moment you step inside, and the counter of the sushi restaurant Sushi Mizuki has a very special, indulgent feel to it.
The most special part of Sushi Mizuki might be that they use many types of vinegar on their rice; they even use Italian vinegar for sushi! Kyoto is famous for its mackerel sushi, but usually, it can be a bit hard, as it’s pressed in a box. However, at Sushi Mizuki the mackerel sushi is carefully shaped with a cotton cloth, making the texture very delicate. You can find red caviar and Japanese basil in the middle of the sushi roll, which make the taste even more exciting. The sushi even looks absolutely great! Don’t you think this restaurant would make for a great place to have dinner in Kyoto?
If you want to find a spot in Kyoto that is not too crowded, but where you still get to see the beautiful cherry blossoms of this ancient city, then go to one of the aforementioned places! Although getting to these places might take some time, they’re all worth it! These spots are places I consider worth spending quite a lot of time at, so I hope some of our retired readers will go to them to enjoy the cherry blossoms!
Every year many, many people come to Kyoto to see the cherry blossoms, and Kyoto is in full bloom, and I recommend that you too, plan your visit to Kyoto to also coincide with the cherry blossoms! No matter whether you’re coming alone, with friends, with family, or if you’re already retired, I hope that this article will help you plan your trip to Kyoto!