When we talk about the spring in Kyoto, images of cherry blossoms come to mind. But the flower season actually starts much earlier, in February, with the blossoming of the plum flowers. One of the best places in Kyoto to enjoy these is a lovely shrine located in southern Kyoto, Jōnangū.
While most people think “Cherry Blossom” and April when considering the Hanami season, in Kyoto, it actually starts with the plum blossoms around the end of February. This is, a few weeks before the cherry blossoms, the actual beginning of spring in Kyoto. Here’s a quick visit to one of the best place there is.
The Shugaku-in Imperial Villa is a set of gardens and outbuildings in the hills of the eastern suburbs of Kyoto. It consists of the Upper, Middle and Lower Villa areas, each featuring gardens and buildings of the traditional imperial style. Created as an imperial summer retreat, the garden complex is a fine example of Japanese landscape design.
This Buddhist temple of the Tendai Sect is located in the northern part of Kyoto. It’s one of the most amazing places around Kyoto when comes the peak of the fall season. Indeed, its garden, designed by Ishikawa Jozan is small, but it is incredibly beautiful with autumn leaves covering the moss around.
Zuishin-in is a quiet temple slightly removed from the city center. Located in Yamashina, we go to visit it when we go to the nearby large and famous Daigo-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This temple is quiet and a pleasure to visit. Best time is in March and Fall.
As usual, the Tenryu-ji temple’s garden in Arashiyama is wonderful. This is true at all seasons, but particularly so during the Kôyô season, the fall foliage. The colors are starting to change and the intensity of the red and orange show a nice contrast to the background mountain.