Best time to travel to Kyoto

Cherry Blossom in Kyoto 2025

View stunning sakura blossoms with UNESCO world heritage sites on a backdrop

Best time: late March–mid-April

Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom

The cherry blossom season is a special time in Kyoto that dresses dozens of scenic parks, walks, and gardens with beautiful sakura trees flowering. The bloom reaches its peak between the last week of March and first two weeks of April. Full bloom called 'mankai' lasts up to one week. Luckily, different kinds of trees bloom at different times so while some trees start dropping petals others haven’t peaked yet. The flowers are notoriously fragile, so when it rains a lot, unfortunately, the bloom lasts for a shorter period of time.

Cherry blossoms are plentiful at the historical areas of Gion, Togetsu-kyō Bridge, and Kōdaiji Temple. Toji Temple (Kyoogokokuji temple) is a picture-perfect World Heritage site. They all offer this particular dream-like experience that visitors are looking for while planning a trip to Kyoto. During the blooming season, many of these locations are beautifully illuminated at night.

Maruyama Park is perhaps one of the biggest relaxation areas in Kyoto that features about 700 cherry trees. People look especially for shidare-zakura or weeping cherry blossoms that bloom at the end of March. It has been a symbol of Maruyama Park.

Heian Jingu Shrine that dates back to 1895 has over 300 trees of 20 kinds, including the beni-shidare-zakura or red weeping sakura. You can also visit a concert among the cherry blossom at night at the Beni Shidare Concert. After exploring the shrine take the Philosopher's Path and check out Konkaikomyo-ji Temple located nearby.

Keep in mind that it's hard to predict 100% cherry blossom time, so timing a trip to coincide with the sakura blossoms is a somewhat tricky affair. If you plan only a couple of days in Kyoto, you might arrive right after the cherries have bloomed, or you might see the trees approaching the peak bloom just when you have to leave the city. To make sure you witness the cherries blossoms at their peak, you’d have to book about ten days or so in the city, but this would cost a fortune when the high-season rates are rocketing.

Practical info

When can visitors witness cherry blossoms in Kyoto?

Kyoto sees its annual cherry blossom season from late March to mid-April each year, with the bloom reaching its peak between the last week of March and the first two weeks of April. Tourists must plan ahead and stay for about ten days as it's challenging to predict the 100% bloom time. This will ensure that they witness cherry blossoms at their finest. Show more

Which are some of the recommendations of scenic destinations to view cherry blossoms in Kyoto?

Kyoto features many scenic locations to view cherry blossoms. These include Maruyama Park, Gion, Togetsu-kyō Bridge, Kōdaiji Temple, and Heian Jingu Shrine. The Heian Jingu Shrine is home to more than 300 cherry blossom trees of more than 20 kinds. The Konkaikomyo-ji Temple situated nearby is also an excellent place to visit during cherry blossom season. Show more

What kinds of cherry blossom trees are there in Kyoto?

Kyoto features many cherry blossom trees, including the weeping cherry blossoms (shidare-zakura), the red weeping sakura, and more than 20 other kinds of cherry blossom trees at Heian Jingu Shrine. Visitors can observe a combination of colors and diverse blooms together with traditional cultural landmarks and attractions. Show more

When does the peak bloom start, and how long does it endure?

Normally, the peak bloom begins in the last week of March and ends in the first two weeks of April. Full bloom, known as 'mankai,' lasts for about a week. As different trees blossom at different periods, several trees may have started dropping petals while others haven't reached peak yet. Unfortunately, if there is a lot of rain, the blooming period may get shorter. Show more

Besides the recommended locations, what are other places or occasions to consider experiencing in Kyoto's cherry blossom season?

Tourists can explore the Philosophers' Path, a beautiful walkway surrounded by cherry blossom trees that are breathtaking. Beni Shidare Concert, conducted at night at Heian Jingu Shrine, is another event visitors may enjoy during the cherry blossom season. The centuries-old Fushimi Inari shrine and Arashiyama district's bamboo groves are also worth exploring while on a trip to Kyoto during the cherry blossom season. Show more

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