Mar. 11, 2020 UPDATE
Recommended Places to Visit during Kyoto's Cherry Blossom Season
Part 2

Cherry Blossoms Downtown

Every part of Kyoto has a distinctly different vibe. While the Kamo River offers beautiful riverside cherry blossoms and is a lovely place for a stroll, it is also the divider of two completely different sides of Kyoto.
On one side you have the Gion District, which brings together beautiful spring blossoms with Kyoto's historic streets, while on the other you have the busy streets of downtown Shijo-Kawaramachi
The Gion district is most famous for geisha, maiko, their chaya tea houses and the Minami-za Kabuki Theater
However, in spring, the cobblestone streets of Gion are brought to life with the incredible cherry blossoms of the Shirakawa River.
Sitting just off Gion's main street, the Shirakawa River provides the narrow streets of this ancient part of Kyoto with the magical scenery of blossoming cherry trees.
With traditional Japanese houses filled with chaya tea houses and high-end restaurants lining the streets, the Gion District is one of the most popular areas of Kyoto with overseas visitors.
Shirakawa River
Located in northern Gion, the Shirakawa River is one of the most scenic parts of Kyoto.
Many restaurants make the area's old-school machiya Kyoto-style townhouses their home as they all want to offer customers a glimpse of the magnificent Shirakawa River and traditional abience of the Gion District.
Situated just off the river is a small shrine called Tatsumi Daimyoujin where local maiko and geisha go to pray for success in their performances.
At night, the lights of the shrine illuminate the surrounding cherry blossoms, filling the area with a magical atmosphere
If you're lucky enough to go on a breezy day, you also might be able to catch the trees as they release their petals to the wind and let them fall to the flowing river below.
When the blossoms reach their peak, the Shirakawa River is a definite must-visit spot for pictures.
Takase River
We 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 Komori
Gion 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.
We 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.

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