Mar. 11, 2020 UPDATE
Recommended Places to Visit during Kyoto's Cherry Blossom Season
Part 1

Strolling Under the Cherry Blossoms

For a nice, early morning cherry blossom-filled walk, we recommend heading to east Kyoto. Start from the north-eastern Ginkaku-ji Temple and head south through the Philosopher's Path. Keep heading down the path until you reach the Keage Incline.
This walk normally takes about 30 minutes, but we suggest leaving about 2 hours to give yourself enough time to sightsee and enjoy yourself on the way.
A whole day can easily be spent in this area as it's home to tons of things to see, however, below are several spots highly recommend visiting. Take in the fresh spring air as you stroll your way along the rivers, canals and roads of this sensational part of Kyoto.
Follow in the Footsteps of a Japanese Philosopher
The Philosopher's Path
The Philosopher's Path is one of the most popular spots in Kyoto and a wonderful place for a nice walk. The 2.3 km/1.3 milk long canal-side path becomes canopied with cherry blossoms in the spring, creating a beautiful tunnel of flowers. This tunnel also creates a magnificent scene below when the petals begin to wilt as they fall into the river and carpet it with pink dots. The path itself was named after a great Japanese philosopher named Kitaro Nishida, who would walk the path every day. As the Philosopher's Path offers beautiful scenes in both spring and autumn and is one of the most popular spots in Kyoto, we recommend heading there early to beat the crowds. Plus, that way, you'll also get to enjoy the fresh morning air!
Nanzen-ji Temple
Originally a villa, the Zen Buddhism temple of Nanzen-ji has seen many reconstructions as it has also been ravaged by fire multiple times. For a magnificent look at the cherry blossoms backed by the temple's historical buildings, head to the Sanmon Gate - which also happens to be the gate featured in the Kyoto scene of the film Lost in Translation. With its storied buildings and awe-inspiring gate, Nanzen-ji Temple is blanketed by a weighty ambiance that makes it a must-visit spot in eastern Kyoto.
Keage Incline
Keage Incline is a set of old railway tracks along the Lake Biwa Canal. During spring, people flock to the Keage Incline to enjoy a relaxing walk among the 90 some Somei Yoshino cherry trees. Straight out of an old film, the Keage Incline is also a great spot for snapping pictures with the decommissioned tracks and cherry blossoms. The tracks run about 582 meters along a gravel path, so be sure to wear sneakers!
Cherry Blossoms from a Cancal Cruise
Okazaki Jikkokubune Cancal Cruise
Feel the spring breeze, enjoy the smell of newly blossoming flowers and get a 360 view of beautiful cherry blossoms on the Okazaki Jikkokubune canal cruise! On the cruise, catch the towering Heian Jingu Shrine torri gate, National Museum of Modern Art and Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art. Tickets for the cruise are expected to sell out quickly during the peak cherry blossom season of early April.
Also, check out the nighttime cruise that runs only until April 10.
Dates/Times:
Daytime Cruise: March 26 to May 8 - 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Nighttime Cruise: March 26 to April 10 - 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Lunch Recommendation!
Daigin Shokudo
Beloved by locals for their pork katsu, Daigin Shokoudo is located just off the Philosopher's Path, making it great for when hunger strikes while out on a walk. Daigin Shokoudo offers dishes familiar to most Japanese people, such as grilled fish lunch sets, rice and curry (aptly referred to as curry rice in Japan), and udon noodles.
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