Japan – Kyoto – Hanami in the Old Capital

After a great day’s hanami in Osaka the previous day, we headed back to Kyoto (for the third time this trip!). The ultimate cherry blossom viewing experience is in Japan’s ancient capital. With its unique mix of traditional style wooden houses, old shrines and modern glass buildings, Kyoto is a treat for the eyes on every corner. We clearly weren’t the only ones with the same idea, as the streets were filled with locals and tourists alike.

Hanami in Kyoto

Hanami in Kyoto

Back in the Higashiyama district, we entered Kiyomizudera (for the second time), a Buddhist temple founded in 798. The massive wooden complex is even more impressive when you realise there is not a single nail used in the entire structure.

Kiyomizudera

Kiyomizudera

The main hall has a large verandah, supported by tall wooden pillars, providing impressive views of the city over the treetops.DSC09200Frame 1

There is a match-making shrine inside and the otowa-no-taki, a waterfall where visitors drink for health, longevity and success in studies (if you can catch the lucky drops!).Frame 3

The cherry blossoms around the grounds were in full bloom, shading the various paths on the hillside.Frame 4

Outside the front entrance there were a wild mix of locals, tourist shops and crowds to navigate through.Frame 5

Hanami brings everyone outside into the fresh spring air. Any sakura, anywhere brings people outside to enjoy them. It truly is a magical time to be in Kyoto and Japan.Frame 6DSC09244

Heading north, we stopped by Heian Jingu (Heian Shrine), a Shinto shrine which is actually a fairly recent reconstruction of an earlier reproduction of the Emperor’s Kyoto palace in 5/8th scale in length. The torii standing ominously at the entrance is one of the largest in Japan.

Heian Shrine

Heian Shrine

For the quintessential hanami experience, we headed to our favourite spot from our previous Japan visit, tetsugaku-no-michi (more commonly known as The Philosopher’s Walk). A pedestrian path that follows a cherry tree-lined canal in a cute residential area, this famous route is so-named because the influential 20th century Japanese philosopher, Nishida Kitaro is thought to have used it for daily meditation.

The Philosopher's Walk

The Philosopher’s Walk

It makes for a nice casual stroll, popular with locals and probably students of the nearby Kyoto University, hoping to catch some of the Philosopher’s inspiration.Frame 8

Pretty the last time with the contrasting autumn colours, this time around, the sakura put on a visual show. We couldn’t help but snap some beautiful shots of a cute little girl dressed in a kimono.

Super cute

Super cute

Today also marked exactly 6 months travelling since we left our home in Melbourne, Australia on 1st October 2013 to embark on our Epic Adventure!

Not a bad way to end our latest Japan chapter and clock up another Bucket List item.

Admire the Cherry Blossoms

Admire the Cherry Blossoms

Visited 1st April 2014.

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About starksepicadventure

We are Andrew and Lakshi Starks, young married couple from Melbourne, Australia. We are travelling around the world on our Starks Epic Adventure!
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