Mar. 26, 2018 UPDATE
Kyoto, a pink wonderland of cherry blossoms, is full of places you have to have on your bucket list
The hidden parts of Kyoto with cherry blossoms for the lonely traveler
Lately, many people come to Kyoto all by themselves, alone! When you come to Kyoto all alone, you get to choose where you want to go, and how long you want to spend there. So I have carefully chosen some little known cherry blossom spots in Kyoto, where you can enjoy the blossoms in peace without having to worry too much about the crowds! And because you’re alone in Kyoto, choosing a restaurant might be a bit hard, but don’t worry; I have chosen a great one for you! So it’s time to enjoy Kyoto without any worries!
Rokusonno ShrineRokusonno Shrine is located close to To-ji Temple, around a 10-minute walk away, but because it’s not that easy to find it usually doesn’t get that crowded, and you get to see the small shrine and the beautiful cherry blossoms at your own pace.
The vermilion torii gates of the shrine are covered with cherry blossoms, and the shrine looks absolutely gorgeous. There are also some cute torii gates at the shrine so I think it’s the perfect location to take some photos!
Kaju-ji TempleClose to Daigo-ji Temple in Yamanashi, you can find this temple a 10-minute walk away from Ono Station famous for its cherry blossoms. But as this temple is not that famous, there won’t be too many people, and you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery in peace. Even if you don’t go inside the temple, you can see the beautiful cherry blossoms and the historic temple buildings from outside too.
The pink world surrounding you is like a sea of flowers; no matter where you look, you can see beautiful cherry blossoms. You can also take a seat on the benches, and just enjoy the traditional Japanese scenery unfolding in front of your eyes. Although getting to this temple takes some walking, it’s very beautiful, and I’m sure you’ll feel like it was all worth it in the end!
Honman-ji TempleHonman-ji Temple is on the Teramachi Street, and most people go to this small temple to see this huge weeping cherry tree in the middle of it. The hugeness of it is just awe-inspiring; the blue sky makes the pink flowers stand out even more, and you just forget all about your earthly worries. This temple is not well known among foreign tourists, and it’s pretty easy to get to, so I recommend adding it to your cherry blossom itinerary!
You can also take a look at the Japanse garden of the temple built around the cherry tree. So you get two things at once: you get to see a beautiful Japanese and cherry blossoms at the same time! As the cherry tree here is a weeping one, the cherry blossoms are very close to the ground, and thus you get to see them up close. But be careful not to get too close to them when taking photos; you don’t want to step on the beautiful moss of the garden!
Former Main Building of the Kyoto Prefectural OfficeIn Kyoto, you can see cherry blossoms all around you; like Ikkyu Sojun put it, “Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.” The blossoms come with the spring winds, and they soon disappear again. But the Former Main Building of the Kyoto Prefectural Office is a great place to enjoy them while they last. The weeping cherry tree is related to the famous “Weeping cherry of Gion.”
The Former Main Building of the Kyoto prefectural Office was built in 1904 and it’s just a short walk from the Kyoto Imperial Palace. The western style of the building is a great example of Meiji style architecture of the period when Japan was modernizing itself. In 2004, it was designated an Important Cultural Asset of Japan. The western building makes for a great backdrop to the very Japanese cherry blossoms and for this reason it's very popular among the locals.
InoichiInoichi is also on Teramachi Street, and it’s a very popular ramen restaurant so you need to prepare to line up for it, sometimes for over an hour. But still, most people say that it’s worth it, and they could wait even longer for the ramen here which gets its great taste from the strong dashi stock kick in it. As you have to wait quite long to get in and there are very few seats, Inoichi is the restaurant to go in Kyoto if you’re coming to Kyoto alone!
The ramen noodles here are thin, and the soup gets its color from soy sauce, but actually, it’s a mix of chicken and seafood stock. The taste of the soup is clear, but the aftertaste is full of umami. The ramen also looks very pretty, but be careful to not to spend too much time taking photos: the noodles taste best eaten as soon as you’re served the bowl of them! This restaurant is really popular, so sometimes they sell out of the soup and close early, so I recommend going early!
Coming to Kyoto alone, you are relatively free to go wherever you want to, so I hope that you’ll at least take some hints from this article. You maybe want to look at the blossoms in peace, and take some great photos without the crowds to remember your trip afterward. I hope you’ll enjoy it! In the next part, I’ll take a look at something a bit more romantic for couples coming to Kyoto, so until next time!