Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto: find late blooming cherry blossoms here

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto, falling cherry blossoms petals. Photo © Gunjan Virk.

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto, falling cherry blossoms petals. Photo © Gunjan Virk.

I made the mistake of booking my trip to Japan to see the cherry blossoms months in advance. I was relying on cherry blossom forecasts made by Japan travel blogs, and accordingly planned to be in Kyoto for five days in the middle of April. I also booked my flight tickets which were already getting very expensive, and my accommodation on Airbnb as most of the hotels were either over-priced or sold out for my dates.

As it turned out, cherry trees bloomed much before the usual expected time, and when I arrived in Kyoto, cherry blossoms had already finished a week earlier! However, I was informed by a friend that I could still enjoy cherry blossom viewing at Ninnaji Temple, a World Heritage Site and one of the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Kyoto.

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto, falling cherry blossoms petals. Photo © Gunjan Virk.

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto, falling cherry blossoms petals. Photo © Gunjan Virk.

Ninnaji Temple has several hundred low cherry trees called Omuro Cherry that tend to bloom about a week after the main cherry trees. By the time I arrived in Kyoto, even the Omuro variety of the cherry trees had already bloomed and the petals had started falling. But I think that the falling cherry blossom petals were even more beautiful than the cherry trees themselves!

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto, falling cherry blossoms petals. Photo © Gunjan Virk.

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto, falling cherry blossoms petals. Photo © Gunjan Virk.

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto, falling cherry blossoms petals. Photo © Gunjan Virk.

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto, falling cherry blossoms petals. Photo © Gunjan Virk.

Tip: Since Ninnaji Temple is one of the main tourist attractions in Kyoto, it can get very crowded, and I recommend getting there as early as possible. The temple opens at 9 a.m. and I was already standing in line at 8:30 a.m. Thankfully I was able to enjoy the falling cherry blossom petals without any crowds, and by the time I left about 10:30 a.m., the grounds were so filled with tourists that it would have been literally impossible to get a photo with the cherry trees without being pushed and jostled by the crowd.

There is an entry fee of 500 yen (April, 2018) to the temple. I took a bus from outside the main train station (the JR railway station) to the temple. I was staying at the IBIS Styles Kyoto Station located directly opposite to the railway station. You can read my review of the hotel here.

Just for some information, there is a huge shopping center and a food market with restaurants and eateries inside the JR Kyoto railway station which you might want to explore while you are in Kyoto.

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto, falling cherry blossoms petals. Photo © Gunjan Virk.

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto, falling cherry blossoms petals. Photo © Gunjan Virk.