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Kyoto Cherry Blossom 2020: Top 8 Free Hanami Spots in Kyoto, Japan

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

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[Tazoin zen garden | Image Courtesy of]

Kyoto Cherry Blossom 2020: Top 8 Free Hanami Spots in Kyoto, Japan

Hanami, a long-standing Japanese tradition of welcoming spring season, is coming so fast. This annual cherry blossom festival is one of the most celebrated days in Japan.

In Kyoto, cherry blossoms will be in full bloom on April 1 according to forecasts. However, that’s just a forecast, so you have to keep yourself posted because it might change.

Kyoto has hundreds of hanami spots, but you can’t visit all of them in a short span of time. If you are visiting Kyoto come spring and you don’t have all the time in the world, we created this list for you.

Here are the top 8 free hanami spots you should check out:

1. Katsura River

[Katsura river bank | Image Courtesy of Kimon Berlin / Flickr]

The Katsura River banks in Arashiyama has one of the most picturesque hanami spots in Kyoto. The Katsuragawa Ryokuchi Park has cherry blossoms lining the riverbanks and the park premises with an arresting mountain view and a scenic footpath of Togetsukyo Bridge.


2. Maruyama Park

[Maruyama Park | Image Courtesy of Kimon Belin / Flickr]

Located right beside Yasaka Shrine, Maruyama Park is one of the most famous hanami spots in Kyoto. It’s popular because it’s within the city center, and it has a fantastic weeping cherry tree — which is something rare. At night, the park lights up in full.

Kyoto Localized offers a FREE walking tour in Kyoto that will bring you to Maruyama Park and several other attractions in the city. Sign up here.


3. Philosopher’s Path

[Philosopher's Path | Image Courtesy of nate2b / Flickr]

Philosopher’s Path stretches 2 kilometers, following the path of a canal from Ginkakuji to Nanzenji. Each side of the canal’s footpath stands cherry blossoms that make the spot picture-perfect. That’s why it can be really crowded in the cherry blossom season.


4. Kyoto Goen National Park

[Kyoto Goen National Park | Image Courtesy of Chris Gladis / Flickr]

Kyoto Goen has over 1,000 cherry trees, wrapping the Sento Imperial Palace and the Imperial Palace. You can visit and stroll around the park at no cost. The cherry blossom viewing here is pretty quiet and calm because it’s spacious.


5. Kamogawa Sidewalk

[Kamogawa | Image Courtesy of lensonjapan / Flickr]

Another river bank on the list is that of Kamogawa. Kamo River is one of the liveliest parts of Kyoto, with tourists resting and biking and running along the riverside. But the overall atmosphere remains calm and meditative.

Kyoto Localized offers a FREE night walking tour in Kyoto that will bring you to Kamogawa and several other tourist spots in the city. Sign up here.


6. Shimbashi Street

[Shimbashi | Image Courtesy of Kyoto Picture / Flickr]

Following the path of Shirakawa Canal, Shimbashidori is dubbed to be the most beautiful street in Gion. In the cherry blossom season, the street gets really crowded because Shimbashi is just too hard to resist, visually. At night, the cherry blossoms light up, making it a romantic spot in Kyoto as well.


7. Okazaki Canal

[Okazaki Canal | Image Courtesy of Kimon Berlin / Flickr]

Want a more romantic experience in Kyoto? Ride the canal ride along Okazaki and feel the breeze touching through the cherry blossoms that lined the canal from the end to end. It’s an extremely gorgeous hanami spot in Kyoto, so it’s not a surprise to see droves of photographers here.


8. Keage Incline

[Keage Incline | Image Courtesy of Izu navi / Flickr]

The Keage Incline is an out of the ordinary spot to view cherry blossoms. It was used to transport boats between canals back in the day, between 1891 and 1950. The train tracks make for a good twist to your photos.


Kyoto is the heart of Japan and has rich history and culture. Our walking tours will show you why. On our Walking Tours you will learn about the Old and New Kyoto, tradition, religion, history, food, and culture. Free Walking Tours in Kyoto | Kyoto Walking Tours. Book your free walking tour of Kyoto today.


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