My one-day Kyoto cherry blossom itinerary lets you escape the crowds and enjoy the blossoms to the full by guiding you to the temples, shrines and gardens that are off the beaten track
Shinyodo-temple with cherry blossoms © mshades
9am: Shinyo-do Temple
Start the day by heading up to Shinyo-do Temple, up on Yoshida-yama. The main hall of this temple is surrounded by lovely cherry trees, and there are some more beauties outside the main gate. Bus Nos. 5, 100, 203 and 204 all stop nearby. The closest stop is the Jodoji stop. It’s a little tricky to find from there (use our map to find the way). Of course, all buses will be packed during this season, so a taxi direct from your hotel is a very good idea and will save time and effort.
Walk east out of the temple’s main vermillion gate and continue straight for about 100 meters through a residential neighborhood and up a flight of steps to reach the top of Yoshida-yama (a small hill). Work your way north across the top of the hill (crossing a street en route). It will take some route finding, but you’ll eventually descend down to Imadegawa-dori Street.
Kamo-gawa River with cherries © 41265963
Noon: Lunch, Kamo-gawa Riverside
Walk east (away from the mountains) on Imadegawa for about 20 minutes, passing Kyoto University and crossing Higashioji-dori en route. You’ll eventually find yourself at the confluence of the Kamo-gawa and Takano-gawa rivers. This is the area known as Demachiyanagi. Grab some food in a nearby convenience store and have a picnic under one of the cherry trees that line the banks of both rivers.
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2pm: Daitoku-ji Temple
After lunch, take a taxi up to Daitoku-ji Temple (it should cost around Y1,200). Here, the subtemple of Obai-in is open for all of April. It’s one of the most beautiful little gardens in the city and there are some great cherry trees here. After checking out Obai-in, walk through the rest of the complex and check out any other gardens that are open.
4pm: Return to Hotel to Rest
Leave Daitoku-ji and walk east on Kitaoji-dori to reach Kitaoji Bus Terminal, underneath which you can catch the Karasuma subway line back to central Kyoto. Take a well-deserved rest at your lodgings.
6pm: Dinner Downtown
Eat dinner downtown wherever you can find a seat.
Kiyamachi in the evening with cherry blossoms © 126057645@N04
Walk south on Kiyamachi from Sanjo-dori. Kiyamiachi is one street west of the Kamo-gawa. The canal that runs parallel to Kiyamachi is lined with cherry trees that are illuminated during cherry blossom season. It will be crowded until you reach Shijo-dori. Cross Shijo and continue along Kiyamachi. About 100 meters south of Shijo, the crowds thin out and you can enjoy this magical arcade of illuminated cherry trees with few people around to bother you.
Kyoto Cherry Blossoms Guide:
- When Do Cherry Blossoms Bloom In Kyoto?
- Where Is The Best Place To See Cherry Blossoms In Kyoto?
- Where To Stay In Cherry Blossom Season In Kyoto
- Where To Stay If Kyoto Is Fully Booked
- Best Places To See Cherry Blossoms In Kyoto Away from The Crowds
- Best Places In Kyoto For a Blossoming Viewing Party (Hanami Party)
- Kyoto 2-Day Cherry Blossom Itinerary
- Kyoto One-Day Cherry Blossom Off-The-Beaten-Track Itinerary
- Kyoto Romantic Cherry Blossom Itinerary
- Kyoto Evening Cherry Blossom Itinerary
Visiting Tokyo or Osaka?
See my guides to viewing cherry blossoms in Tokyo and the best Osaka cherry blossom spots too.
You can check availability of Kyoto hotels during cherry blossom season (mid-March to mid-April) on Agoda.com and Booking.com
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
- Open the Kyoto map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Other Inside Kyoto Pages Of Interest:
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world