To the Japanese, cherry blossom is much more than just a few flowers. From the late March until the early May, the whole archipelago is swept by a festive atmosphere. Everyone flocks to the most famous flower-viewing spots to spread out the mat beneath the blooming trees, drink with colleagues or friends and have fun. No doubt, sakura blooming is one of the most stunning sights you are lucky to see in Japan.
This year cherry in Kyoto started to bloom later than previous years due to the extremely cold weather. Once the pink and white petals began to dance and flatter about in the light wind, people rejoiced. However, the sheer happiness has been slightly marred by the running showers that unfortunately shorten the blooming season. Therefore, I could not miss the chance and rushed to the Imperial Palace in Kyoto to enjoy the beauty of spring.
The former residence of Japanese emperors is a perfect place to visit during the cherry blossom is in full bloom. I spent a couple of hours strolling around the park that surrounds the royal premises and taking pictures of falling petals. Knowing that picnics are not allowed on the grounds, I did not bring any lunch box and enjoyed the blooming flowers along with fellow travelers.
There are three types of cheery tree planted on the grounds of Imperial palace in Kyoto. The most popular sakura is yamazakura, literally translated into English as ‘mountain sakura’. The slightly pinkish blossoms of yamazakura can be often seen covering the mountain slopes in Kansai. However, the one that truly captivated my heart is a Japanese weeping cherry tree known as shidarezakura. The drooping branches bear cascades of pink flowers, a remarkable sight to behold. Finally, the last of the three species growing on the spot is a beautiful cherry tree satozakura with large white petals. In addition, blooming Japanese magnolia was an unexpected bonus added to the variety of cherry trees.
The inner grounds of Imperial Palace are impressive and absolutely beautiful. Although I could not enter the palace buildings, I glanced through the glass windows and noticed the gorgeous sakura paintings adorning the walls. There was a number of picturesque ponds and bridges, and the overall atmosphere was very serene. I was taken aback by the petite buds on the verge of blooming and kept my camera close all the time in order not to miss the moment of petals’ dancing. It was quite busy that day but it was still possible to admire the cherry blossom and think about the transience of time.
|Kyoto Imperial Palace
|3 Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 602-0881
9:00-17:00 (from April to August)
|5 min walk from Marutamachi or Imadegawa Station
*Please check for the latest information before visiting.