Aug. 24, 2021 UPDATE
Kyoto - A Pink Wonderland of Cherry Blossom Spots
Part 1

Solo Travelers: The Hidden Cherry Blossoms of Unknown Kyoto

Recently, Kyoto has become a popular destination for solo travelers.
One of the biggest upsides of traveling alone is that you get to choose where you go and how long you spend there. In this part, we've compiled a list of some off the beaten path cherry blossom spots that are perfect for the extra mobility afforded to solo travelers.
Another awesome aspect of solo travel is being able to decide the food! We've picked out one of our favorite places for grabbing a bite to eat when you're alone as well!
Of course, all the places in this article are incredible no matter who you're with, so even if you're with a significant other or some mates, we still recommend making the trek out to them — although, if you want to avoid tired bickering, maybe don't visit them all in one day.
Rokusonno Shrine
Rokusonno Shrine
Despite being only a 10-minute walk from the famous Toji Temple, Rokusonno Shrine continues to fly under the radar of most tourists — and even some locals. Thanks to this, the Rokusonno Shrine remains one of the best quiet hole-in-the-wall sakura cherry blossom spots in Kyoto.
In spring, the vermilion torii gates of the shrine are backed by beautiful cherry blossoms, treating you to a gorgeous classically Japanese-esque view.
The shrine is also home to a number of smaller, adorable looking torii gates too, so don't forget to have your camera ready.
Kaju-ji Temple
Kaju-ji Temple
Close to Daigo-ji Temple in Kyoto's eastern Yamashina Ward, you can find the Kaju-ji Temple a 10-minute walk from Ono Station. While this temple is renowned by those in the know for its incredible cherry blossoms, it still remains relatively unknown to most — meaning that you can enjoy all the beauty it has to offer in peace and quiet. Also, even if you opt to not head inside the temple itself, you'll still be able to see the magnificent cherry blossoms and historic temple buildings from the outside.
pink world
The wonderland of pink that this temple offers feels like you're in a sea of flowers; no matter where you turn, it's nothing but blossoms as far as the eye can see. Although getting to this temple requires a bit of a walk, there are benches at the top where you can rest and take in the majesty of the immaculate traditional Japanese scenery.
Honman-ji Temple
Honman-ji Temple
Honman-ji Temple sits to the top right of the Kyoto Imperial Palace and despite its small grounds is known for its huge weeping cherry tree that sits in the center. The sheer size of the tree is simply awe-inspiring. The blue sky coupled with the pale pink flowers makes for a nearly sanctified scene that graciously strips you of all earthly concerns. Although relatively easy to get to, Honman-ji Temple isn't known to many overseas tourists, so it's a highly recommended spot if you're looking for something a little of the beaten path that's not too far away.
cherry tree
One of the other key draws of the Honman-ji Temple is the Japanese garden that surrounds the center cherry blossom. The combination of the beautiful garden with the blossoming tree is truly a sight to see. Also, as the tree weeps to the ground like a great willow, you're able to get up close to the petals despite the tree's enormous height. However, just be aware to not step on the moss in the garden below when admiring the tree from up close.
Former Main Building of the Kyoto Prefectural Office
Former Main Building of the Kyoto Prefectural Office
In Kyoto, cherry blossoms surround you no matter where you go; like Ikkyu Sojun said, “Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.” While the blossoms come with the spring breeze and disappear as fast as they came, 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” in Kyoto's central Maruyama Park.
kyoto prefectural office
The Former Main Building of the Kyoto Prefectural Office was built in 1904 and is only a short walk from the Kyoto Imperial Palace. The western style of the building is a great example of Meiji architecture from the period when Japan was modernizing itself at the turn of the century. In 2004, the building was designated an Important Cultural Asset of Japan. The starkly western building makes for an exceptional backdrop to the beautiful Japanese cherry blossoms that stand in its central courtyard. This very distinctive aspect of the building is one of the reasons it remains so popular with locals.
Inoichi 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. Sitting on Teramachi Street — although a little down the road from the shopping arcade portion — Inoichi is a popular downtown ramen shop that has snagged itself a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Inoichi is known for its great-tasting, punchy dashi stock that comes in either a light or dark soy sauce base. As with most ramen shops, Inoichi can't really accommodate groups bigger than four, but it's a great option for lunch if you're traveling solo or with one or two others.
The ramen features characteristically thin noodles and a distinctively colored stock that's actually a mix of chicken and seafood dashi. The broth has a wonderfully light flavor with an umami-packed after taste. Inoichi's ramen also all looks incredible! But, be careful not to spend too long taking photos as it's sacrilege in Japan to leave your ramen and let the noodles "stretch." As Inoichi boasts constant crowds, they sometimes run out of broth and close early, so we recommend getting there around early lunchtime!
Coming to Kyoto alone, you are relatively free to go wherever you want, so we hope that this article can be of some use. If you're wanting to enjoy Kyoto's beautiful blossoms in peace, without the crowds, then you won't regret visiting the places we've showcased above. However, if you want something a little more romantic, then head over to Part 2 where we'll be looking at the best cherry blossom spots for couples!

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