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7 Things to Do in Kyoto in Spring 2023

Visiting Kyoto in spring? Kyoto is different around the spring season, in a good way!

There are so many things to do in Kyoto in spring. Cherry blossoms in Kyoto are everywhere. The streets are decorated with cherry trees. Temples and shrines become more vibrant with sakura around. And there are so many foods you may enjoy around this time too.

The weather in Kyoto in spring may be different. Around March, the southern part of Kyoto tends to change between a little cold and a little warm back and forth, while the northern part tends to remain colder, rainy, cloudy, or snowy.

Nevertheless, spring is one of the best months to spend in Kyoto. Here are some of the best things to do in Kyoto in spring:

1. Celebrate Hanami or Cherry Blossom Viewing

First on our list is of course watching cherry blossoms or celebrating hanami. Based on Japan cherry blossom forecast 2023, sakura in Kyoto is expected to start flowering on March 27 and full bloom is expected on April 5. Expect hanami to happen around this too. Some of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto are Philosopher’s Path, Maruyama Park, Nijo Castle, and Kyoto Botanical Gardens.

2. Try Sakura-Themed Snacks at Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market is the biggest food market in Kyoto with over 150 food vendors. Dubbed “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” this 400-year-old market is the perfect place to food crawl in Kyoto. This spring, sakura-themed snacks and delicacies will appear more than usual. Some foods you should look out for include the sakura soft serve ice cream, sakura mochi, sakura Kit-kat, sakura taiyaki, and more!

3. Visit Togetsukyo Bridge

A popular sakura spot in Kyoto, Togetsukyo Bridge is one of the most stunning scenes in Kyoto with the backdrop of the lush forest and the mountain. Located in Arashiyama, a town known for its cherry blossoms, Togetsukyo should be on your itinerary this spring. Watch out for the pastel pink petals in full bloom against the clear waters of the Katsura River.

4. Enjoy Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro

The Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro is an annual event that takes place in March in Higashiyama, home to a number of temples and shrines such as Kiyomizu Temple and Yasaka Pagoda. Around this time, Higashiyama’s streets and common places shine with well-displayed flowers and paper lanterns. At other temples, special visits and nighttime light-ups take place, allowing tourists to see Kyoto from a different angle.

5. Visit Kyoto Botanical Garden

Kyoto Botanical Garden is the oldest public botanical garden in Japan founded in 1924. The garden can be enjoyed at any time of the year with a variety of seasonal flowers. But in spring, the flowers and trees at the garden bloom more vibrantly, like they don’t in other seasons. Since it’s not crowded, it’s a favorite spot among locals to relax and decompress.

6. Watch Miyako Odori

Miyako Odori, or Capital City Dances, is a yearly event taking place in April at at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theatre wherein geikos and maikos do music and dance performance in public. It’s a rare opportunity as these geisha-in-training only appear in private gatherings and exclusive parties.

7. See Azaleas in Full Bloom

In May, azaleas are in bloom, boasting vibrant red, soft pink, hot pink, orange, and purple colors. Visit Heian Jingu and Nagaoka Tenmangu (Nagaokakyo City) to see some of the best azalea gardens. In northern Kyoto, Higashi-Maizuru Park boasts over 25,000 azaleas which are illuminated at night when they are in full bloom.

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