Kyoto Sakura Season Guide: Everything You Need to Know for Your Trip

Kyoto Sakura Season Guide: Everything You Need to Know for Your Trip

Bookmark this before you fly off to Kyoto!

Kyoto is a dream destination for many who enjoy exploring Japan. Beyond the cultural heritage, outdoor beauty, and religious sanctuaries, it is also a place known for its beautiful cherry blossoms in spring. If you’re planning to travel to Kyoto for sakura season, it’s best to be equipped with enough information about the place so you don’t miss out on the best things.

Here’s a comprehensive Kyoto cherry blossom season guide for travellers who are visiting the city during the sakura season. This includes the top Kyoto sakura viewing spots, the best places to stay, and things to expect, so you can worry less and fully enjoy your trip. 

Also read: 10 Best Airbnb Homes & Vacation Rentals in Japan for the Trip of a Lifetime

Best viewing spots for cherry blossoms in Kyoto

Each year, Kyoto sakura usually starts flowering at the end of March to April (but more on that later). Find out the best places to visit for cherry blossom viewing!

1. Himeji Castle

Kyoto sakura season

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Located approximately two hours away from Kyoto city centre, Himeji Castle (aka the White Heron Castle) is a must-visit attraction for many, especially during the sakura season. It is the largest and the most visited castle in Japan, with its construction period dating back to almost a thousand years ago. Located on the hilltop, its well-preserved beauty and historical value drive it to be one of the most popular destinations in the country. During Kyoto cherry blossom season, the pink flowers and elegant white castle complement each other — forming an extraordinary vista. 

Address: 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo 670-0012, Japan

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm, 

Admission fee: ¥‎1000 (~S$10)

2. Arashiyama district

Kyoto sakura

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When hearing the word Arashiyama, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the emerald bamboo forest. Nonetheless, this natural location is also a great place to go to during Kyoto sakura season. During springtime, the dazzling flowers bloom along the river and roads in the Arashiyama district, making for a scene so pretty that you could not ever forget it.

Address: Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-0007, Japan

3. Toji Temple

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Toji Temple is one of the best sakura viewing spots during Kyoto cherry blossom season. Situated in Minami ward, this Buddhist temple is another World Heritage Site recognised by UNESCO. Other than the beautiful cherry blossom trees, the most recognisable attraction in Toji Temple is the five-storey pagoda tower, also known as the tallest wooden pagoda in Japan.

Address: 1 Kujocho, Minami Ward, Kyoto, 601-8473, Japan

Opening hours: 8am to 5pm

Admission fee: ¥‎500 (~S$5), ¥‎800 (~S$8) during special festivals

4. Kyoto Botanical Gardens

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Come to the Kyoto Botanical Gardens, the oldest garden in Kyoto that spans 4,700 square metres. It’s a lovely spot to explore during the sakura season, so you can experience what it’s like to be surrounded by more than 450 cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Of course, other than the famous pink trees, there are also other flower species, like the Japanese Iris, roses, and Hydrangea, as well as a waterlily pond.  

Address: Shimogamo Hangicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-0823, Japan

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm

Admission fee: ¥‎200 (~S$2)

5. Philosopher’s Path (Tetsugaku No Michi)

Kyoto Japan cherry blossom

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The Philosopher’s Path, or Tetsugaku No Michi, is a pedestrian path in the Higashiyama district that features a cherry blossom tree-lined canal. This place is perfect for tourists who love exploring on foot. Here, you can take as much time as you want to admire the flowers while enjoying the tranquil atmosphere that’s prevalent especially during this time of the year. 

Address: Tetsugaku No Michi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Japan

6. Maruyama Park

Cherry blossom Kyoto

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Also situated in the Higashiyama District, Maruyama Park is a public park and one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing spots in Kyoto. This massive green space is most known for its weeping cherry blossom tree that will light up at night, making it an amazing viewing spot no matter what time of the day it is. Aside from the spectacular scenery, there’s also a shrine, food stalls, and picnic tables available in the park. 

Address: Maruyamacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto 605-0071, Japan

Opening hours: All day

7. Ninna-ji Temple

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Founded in ancient times, the Ninna-ji Temple is deeply associated with Japan’s imperial family. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of blooming sakura trees in this UNESCO World Heritage Site during springtime, as well as the vibrant view of red and orange trees during the autumn season.

Address:  33 Omuroouchi, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8092, Japan

Opening hours: 9am to 4.30pm

Admission Fee: ¥‎500 (~S$5)

8. Kiyomizu-dera

kyoto japan cherry blossom

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A historical monument in eastern Kyoto, the Kiyomizu-dera temple is another great spot for cherry blossom viewing. The name of the temple directly translates to “pure water,” pertaining to the Otowa Waterfall. Located on the base of the main hall, the streams of the waterfall are said to bring love, success and longevity. The temple also features a view platform, where one can indulge in overlooking views of sakura trees, blue skies, and the bright red three-storey pagoda.

Address: 1 Chome-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan

Opening hours: 6am to 6pm

Admission Fee: ¥‎400 (~S$4)

Also read: 10 Must-See Temples and Shrines in Japan

9. Daigoji Temple

Cherry blossom Kyoto

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Daigoji Temple located in Fushimi ward is an old Buddhist temple celebrated for its gorgeous sakura since the Heian period. There are different cherry blossom trees in the area that bloom at different times throughout the season. These include the weeping cherry tree and the various yaezakura. Therefore, tourists get to experience the joy of sakura-viewing for a more prolonged period here. 

Address: 22 Daigohigashiojicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 601-1325, Japan

Opening hours: 9am to 4pm

Admission Fee: ¥‎1500 (~S$15) during Spring and Autumn period, ¥‎800 (~S$8) during normal period

Best places to stay during Kyoto cherry blossom season

1. This traditional Japanese house with spectacular views

One of the best Airbnbs you can find in the city, this serene Japanese house located in Kyoto City looks like it came straight out of a movie. Enjoy the tranquillity and magnificent view from above surrounded by lush mountains when you stay here. What’s better, it is close to famous sightseeing spots like the Philosopher’s Path and the Silver Temple. There’s even a dedicated working space for digital nomad travellers!


2. Sakura Guest House

kyoto sakura airbnb

Though simple-looking, this Airbnb in Shimogyo Ward is an amazing place to stay for budget travellers. As the name suggests, Sakura Guest House is conveniently located around sightseeing and cherry blossoms viewing areas, such as Kinkakuji and Kiyomizu-dera. The JR Nishioji Station and other bus stops are also just a few minutes’ walk. 


3. This apartment along the river with cherry blossoms view

kyoto sakura airbnb

Doesn’t it sound so dreamy to be welcomed by a waterfront and sakura view every day when you wake up? Well, in this Airbnb, this is no longer a dream! Sakura River Inn 1 is located by the Takase River. This traditional Japanese accommodation has a balcony, where you can relish the fascinating nature view of the river, and blooming sakura trees during Kyoto cherry blossom season. Surely, it’s one of the perfect stays to consider for your Kyoto sakura trip.


4. This spot nearby sakura-viewing spots

Kyoto Machiya Saikyoinn is a retro-style stay in Ukyo-ku ward. This small wooden Japanese home includes basic amenities, tatami mats, sliding doors, a Japanese garden, and even a bathtub. It is near central Kyoto, and other famous attractions like the Arashiyama district, Geisha district, and ancient shrines.


5. This quaint retro house with a sakura garden

cherry blossom kyoto airbnb

Tofukuji Sakura is a charming Japanese accommodation located in the Higashiyama ward. There is a quaint garden right inside the house with pinky cherry blossoms trees. Aside from seeing the sakura trees without having to leave the house, its exquisite wooden design and spacious rooms make it an awesome place to stay when you’re in Kyoto. By taking the JR Nara Line, you can easily visit famous attractions around the city like Fushimi Inari Taisha, Tofuku-ji Temple, and other popular restaurants offering Japanese fusion dishes. 


Tips for travelling in Kyoto during cherry blossom season

1. Check the sakura forecasts

Image credit: James Pere

When travelling for the cherry blossoms in Kyoto, the first thing you would want to do is check the sakura forecast in advance so that you can plan and time your visit as precisely as possible.

The Kyoto sakura trees start flowering and blooming differently each year. For instance, according to the latest data from Japan Meteorological Corporation, the best time for cherry blossom viewing in Kyoto would be between late March and the beginning of April. However, keep in mind that forecasts are subject to change, so we recommend checking regularly and allotting more days for your trip. 

Also read: Japan Cherry Blossom 2023 Forecast: When & Where to See Sakura

2. Prepare for the crowds

When travelling to Kyoto, you should expect crowds, particularly in places like temples, shrines, and parks. Similar to other famous Japan destinations, it is always brimming with foreign tourists, especially during the sakura season. After all, many would love to catch a glimpse of the Kyoto cherry blossom in real life.

3. Know how to get around the city

Image credit: Amy Tran

Japan, in general, has most of its people travelling via public transport on a regular basis. The JR Line brings you to most areas in the city and outside of Kyoto. The price for an ordinary seven-day JR Railway Pass for adults is ¥33,610, while the price for the more premium green pass is ¥‎44,810. The green pass seats are more spacious and comfortable, and the train is quieter compared to the standard one. 

Nevertheless, aside from public transport like trains, subways, and buses, it is actually a very walkable city. People usually explore the attractions in Kyoto on foot. By walking around the city, you can save some money on transportation, and you might even stumble upon hidden, underrated places that are perfect for sightseeing. If you prefer to cycle around Kyoto (like how your favourite anime characters do!), bicycle rental shops are widely available in the main districts, too.

4. Take note of the budget for the trip

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Excluding airfares, the general budget for a Kyoto trip during the cherry blossom season should cost around S$110 per day. A regular single meal is priced at around S$11, so the cost for meals per day should be approximately S$35. 

The price of accommodation will depend on your travelling style and preferences, but a standard stay in Kyoto should cost around S$65 per night. If you are travelling for a week, it would be ideal to prepare a budget of S$800 or more, especially if you’re planning to go shopping.

Also read: Explore Kyoto on Tram: Experience the Keifuku Randen

5. Take note of the essential things to bring

cherry blossom kyoto

Image credit: Amy Tran

When travelling during the Kyoto cherry blossom season, remember to wear comfortable footwear, since you will be walking a lot (as previously mentioned). If you’re going to cycle around the city, wear appropriate sports shoes to avoid hurting your feet, as well as clothes suitable for biking.

In Kyoto and most parts of Japan, cash is still a widely-used mode of payment, so we recommend bringing enough yen. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to bring your debit and/or credit cards as well. Don’t forget to purchase a data SIM card or turn on your data roaming. A universal adapter and power bank will be very helpful when you need to charge your electronic devices.

Besides, it is best to carry some coins with you when exploring the famous temples and shrines in Kyoto, so you can put them into the prayer box and wish for good luck in life. 

If you’re not fluent in Japanese, you would definitely want to download some translation applications on your phone. You might also want to learn the basic phrases for better communication with the locals. 

Lastly, bring a camera to capture the enchanting Kyoto cherry blossoms, and keep the beautiful memories forever!

6. Respect the culture

kyoto sakura season

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Unlike most famous cities around the world, Kyoto is known for being more conservative and having well-preserved customs and traditions. While you’re here, be mindful of the culture and follow the rules, especially if you’re at spiritual sites like shrines, temples, and pagodas. 

Also read: Cherry Blossom Season 2023: Must-Know Tips & Essentials

So here you go, a guide to cherry blossoms in Kyoto for travellers who are planning to visit the city during the sakura season. Have fun admiring the stunning cherry blossoms in real life and follow our Facebook page for more useful travel guides!

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About Author

Cecelia Chang
Cecelia Chang

Born in a new village in Selangor, Malaysia, Cecelia loves three things in life: Good food, good views, and good deals. She also enjoys exploring new places and experiencing new things on her travels.