Cherry blossom viewing spot: Heian Shrine (平安神宮), Kyoto

Heian Shrine (Heian Jingu 平安神宮) is a Shinto shrine and it is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Kyoto. It boasts a large number of pink weeping cherry trees in the gardens on the shrine grounds. Typically, the cherry trees here tend to flower a few days later than the rest of the typical blooms. Hence, Heian Shrine is a good place to view sakura (桜) blooms for those who have missed the flowers at other popular spots.

I was there 2 weeks ago when the sakura was nearing its peak at other spots in Kyoto. While the flowers at Heian were not at their peak form yet, it was still a pretty sight.

Cherry trees lining the canal just outside Heian Shrine

Cherry trees lining the canal just outside Heian Shrine

Heian Jingu's torii gate is one of the largest in Japan: It is built in 1929. Size at 24.2 meters high; top rail 33.9 meters long

Heian Jingu’s torii gate is one of the largest in Japan: It is built in 1929. Size at 24.2 meters high; top rail 33.9 meters long

Pretty white sakura blooms against the striking vermillion color of the torii gate

Pretty white sakura blooms against the striking vermillion color of the torii gate

I love the pristine white color of the sakura blooms. They look so pretty in a bunch!

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Hanami picnics outside Heian Shrine

Hanami picnics outside Heian Shrine

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Beautiful architecture and colors: The main gate (Otenmon) of Heian Jingu

Beautiful architecture and colors: The main gate (Otenmon) of Heian Jingu

Sake barrels: offerings made to the Shinto Gods

Sake barrels: offerings made to the Shinto Gods

As it was the season for the cherry blossoms, special booths for sakura omikuji 桜みくじ was available. (For more information on what an omikuji is, and also what  to expect at Shinto Shrines, please refer to my earlier post by clicking here 🙂 )

Booths for sakura omikuji (fortune telling slips)

Booths for sakura omikuji (fortune telling slips)

Sakura omikuji

Sakura omikuji

For the first time, I saw the yamazakura type of cherry tree where the leaves appear at the same time as the blooms. Because of the appearance of the leaves, the blossoms looked less intense as compared to the other varieties where the fresh leaves only appear after the blooms have reached their peak.

Yamazakura type of cherry blossom: fresh bronze leaves and blooms appearing at the same time

Yamazakura type of cherry blossom: fresh bronze leaves and blooms appearing at the same time

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The famous pink weeping cherry trees are found in the gardens of the shrine complex. While so far it is free of charge to explore the shrine compounds, an entrance fee of 600 yen is payable to enter the gardens. This is what you see if you pay for the entrance fee (like I did) 🙂

Lots of pink weeping cherry trees in the garden

Lots of pink weeping cherry trees in the garden

One of my favorite activities when visiting shrines in Japan, is to sit down at the tea huts in the gardens and enjoy coffee/matcha and some sweets. Ahh…. this is life! 🙂

Enjoy the beautiful views of the sakura trees while enjoying a green tea roll cake on a red carpeted bench

Enjoy the beautiful views of the sakura trees while savoring a green tea roll cake on a red carpeted bench

One of my friends commented that she likes to see parts of the blogger's body (clothed!), hence this photo for good measure.

One of my friends commented that she likes to see parts of the blogger’s body (clothed!), hence this photo for good measure

As I continued to walk through the vast garden compound, I reached the lake of Heian Shrine. The lake was lined with pink weeping cherry trees.

Lake at Heian Shrine

Lake at Heian Shrine

What a pity that the pink blooms have not peaked when I was there

What a pity that the pink blooms have not peaked when I was there

Lovely pink blooms

Lovely pink blooms

Beautiful views at the lake

Beautiful views at the lake

Pretty as a postcard: pink reflections of the cherry trees

Pretty as a postcard: pink reflections of the cherry trees

Overall, Heian Shrine is a great place to view cherry blossoms in Kyoto! However, if I go again I will time it appropriately to meet the peaks of the pink blooms at Heian. Apparently when the pink blossoms are at their best, there are night illuminations with classical music concerts held at Heian Jingu.

Information

Heian Shrine

Opening Hours: 0600 to 1730 (seasonal) / Admission: Free / No closing days

Heian Shrine Garden

Opening Hours: 0800 to 1700 (seasonal) / Admission: 600 yen / No closing days

How to Get There

Address: 97 Okazaki Nishitennocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8341, Japan

By Bus: Take bus 5 or 100 from Kyoto Station (220 yen, around half hour)

By Subway: 10min walk from Higashiyama Station

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6 responses to “Cherry blossom viewing spot: Heian Shrine (平安神宮), Kyoto

    • Hi Eric, based on the past sakura blooms at Heian Shrine, the blooms are unlikely to have peaked in end March. The pink weeping sakura trees at Heian typically start to bloom from end March, peaking in mid-April. It is worth noting that the sakura at Heian blooms later than sakura at other places. That said, all these dates are high dependent on weather and hence if you are booking your tickets now, it will be up to luck if you manage to bump right into full bloom!
      You may find more information on Heian’s blooms at the following website. This website is in Japanese, it tracks blooms real time all over Japan:
      http://hanami.walkerplus.com/detail/ar0726e26116/
      All the best! 🙂

  1. Pingback: Night sakura concert: 紅しだれコンサート Heian Shrine (平安神宮), Kyoto | miss travelosopher·

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