Feb. 05, 2020 UPDATE

6 Must-Knows for 2020's Kyoto Cherry Blossom Season

In this article, we’ll be looking at what locals think you need to know before arriving in Kyoto for the cherry blossom season.
cherry blossom

In this article, we look at 6 things that will help you enjoy your time seeing the cherry blossoms in Kyoto to the max!


In Kyoto, spring is all about the cherry blossoms!

Every year, Kyoto’s swath of beautiful cherry blossom spots bring countless travelers to the city. And if you’re planning on coming to town between late March and mid-April, then Kyoto’s cherry blossoms have probably already made your list of things to see.

In this article, we want to look at some of the basic info that any travelers should know and things that we locals feel are helpful for getting the most out of the beautiful season!


Contents:

Q. Weather in Kyoto - March & April

Q. Most Famous Cherry Blossom Spots

Q. Recommended Transportation Methods

Q. Tips for Beating the Rush

Q. Cherry Blossom Spot Manners & Etiquette

Q. Tips for Visiting Kyoto in Spring (hay fever, etc.)



Weather in Kyoto - March & April

Weather in Kyoto - March & AprilThe peak cherry blossom season in Kyoto – late-March to early-April – is a transitional period between winter and spring. 

According to data from the Japan Meteorological Agency, Kyoto's average temperature in March 2019 was 9.6 degrees, with a high of 14.8 degrees and a low of 5.1 degrees. The average temperature in April was 13.9 degrees, with a high of 19.5 and a low of 8.9 degrees. During this period, while it might be nice and warm during the day, mornings and evenings get quite chilly, so you'll be needed a warm outer to keep out the cold.

As the temperature varies greatly day by day, while it might have been warm yesterday, it could feel like the middle of winter today. To combat this, we suggest keeping an easy to carry and easy to take off outer with you at all times.


Tips: Bring clothes that are suitable for both warm and cold weather!



Famous Kyoto Cherry Blossom Spots

Famous Kyoto Cherry Blossom SpotsKyoto is packed with places to catch beautiful cherry blossoms. And, if you’re able to wrap your head around the geography of the city, you can work your way around multiple spots at once, and even pass through places while on your way somewhere.

Below we’ve put a link to an article featuring our most recommended “Cherry Blossom Hanami Spots.”


【2020】 Sharing Kyoto: Best Sakura Cherry Blossom Hanami Spots in Kyoto

https://sharing-kyoto.com/See-Do/magazine/td008347


Top 7 cherry blossom viewing spots in Kyoto

https://sharing-kyoto.com/See-Do/magazine/td008280


Tips: Take note of an area’s cherry blossom spots and you’ll be able to hit multiple in a single day!



Recommended Transportation Methods

Recommended Transportation MethodsIf you’re planning on traveling by bus, then you need to be careful when choosing the route. As Kyoto sees so many visitors in spring, both downtown and popular tourist spots see huge numbers of people. As a result, around this time every year, downtown Kyoto and the areas around the city’s main tourist destinations get congested with traffic. Be especially wary of bus routes that go through the Kyoto Station area, downtown Shijo and Gion district. These buses often arrive late due to congestion and are already full by the time they get to you. It’s not uncommon to have to wait for the next bus when trying to travel on these routes. 

For quick and easy travel, the train is your best bet.


Tips: Be wary of buses; catch the train!



Tips for Beating the Rush – Days & Times for Relaxed Cherry Blossom Viewings

Tips for Beating the RushAs was mentioned earlier, you can expect crowds in Kyoto in spring.

So, if you want to relax and enjoy the cherry blossoms at your own pace, then you’ll need to plan your route around specific days and times. The first tip, steer clear of weekends & holidays. As most Japanese companies operate Monday to Friday, a lot of people flock to see the cherry blossoms on the weekend. So if your schedule allows for it, aim for visiting popular cherry blossom spots only on the weekdays. 


List of Weekends/Holidays Over the 2020 Cherry Blossom Season:

3/20 (Friday/holiday), 3/21 (Sat), 3/22 (Sun), 3/28 (Sat), 3/29 (Sun), 4/4 (Sat), 4/5 (Sun), 4/11 (Sat), 4/12 (Sun)


The second tip, timing is everything. 

While it may be obvious, early mornings and right after places open see relatively fewer people and are the best times for enjoying the cherry blossoms at your own pace. Most spots begin to fill up around one-hour after open, so aim to arrive before then.

Also, if you have a specific place or area in mind and want to get there early, then it might be best to find accommodation near a train station that will get you there. While getting up early can be difficult, it’s definitely worth it as the early morning provides an entirely different atmosphere to enjoy the cherry blossoms in.


Tips: Aim for weekdays and early mornings/one hour after open! 



Cherry Blossom Spot Manners & Etiquette

Cherry Blossom Spot Manners & EtiquetteRecently, a big problem in famous cherry blossom spots has been manners. While many of the things below might seem obvious, sometimes it pays just to check what you're doing so you don't unwittingly end up in the bad books of any locals.

As a rule, avoid the following four "troublesome activates."


・Excessive touching of the cherry blossoms

・Entering restricted areas

・Taking photos in the middle of the street

・Littering/leaving rubbish behind 


*As a direct result of people's poor behavior, a light display which had been held for the last 27 years was canceled this year.


A big recommendation of ours when going to see the cherry blossoms is bringing a small rubbish bag in your bag. Japan is known for having a minuscule number of public trash cans, so you'll often find yourself walking around looking to throw away even the smallest bit of rubbish. To save you from doing this, we suggest always carrying a rubbish bag with you. 


Tips: Remember your manners, don't leave the cherry blossoms in tatters!



Hay Fever, etc, – Things to Know when Visiting Kyoto in Spring

Hay FeverFlight of the Pollen – During the cherry blossoms’ peak season in Kyoto, the city’s many cedar and cypress trees also make it peak pollen season. Additionally, as Kyoto’s surrounded by mountains, it has an especially bad reputation for causing hay fever. Whether you’re a suffer of hay fever or not, in order to not let itchy eyes or a runny or stuffy nose ruin your trip, make sure to carry things to counter hay fever, like masks, tissues and eye drops.


Tips: Stay vigilant, don’t let April’s “Flight of the Pollen” ruin your trip!

Shin[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
While Kyoto has a ton of cherry blossom spots, my personal favorite ones are those by rivers. In addition to Kyoto’s famous Kamogawa River, there are a lot of river banks with cherry blossoms, including the Katsuragawa River that runs through Arashiyama, the Takasegawa River that runs down Kiyamachi and the Higashiyama area’s Shiragawa River. Depending on the place, sometimes, there are hundreds of meters of uninterrupted blossoms. While there may be some distance between the trees, people also have more space to disperse, making these areas a lot easier to enjoy at your own pace.
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All Things To Do Temples & Shrines Scenery cherry blossom spring All Kyoto Area
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