Daigo Temple Cherry Blossom 醍醐の桜
This is Kyoto day, so we take the Keihan train from Hama-Otsu to Daigo Station on the Tozai (subway line). Daigo Temple is a world heritage site. Its garden has been famous for cherry blossom, at least, since Toyotomi Hideyoshi held a sakura viewing party here in 1598.
There is a 1500-yen entrance fee, that I thought a bit steep, but it gives you entrance to 3 sites. I was amused to note two men with padded ladders carefully holding weeping cherry branches clear to allow a couple of large trucks to edge past without disturbing the blossoms.
Diago Temple is large and we wander through the wealth of pink petals for some time. A magnificent sight.
Leaving this display, we take the train to the other side of Kyoto city to Arashiyama. Young people throng his popular tourist destination. Arriving at Tenryu-ji, a large temple with larger crowds, we decide not to enter. There is still a covid pandemic, after all. Because of this, unusually for Kyoto, we encounter almost no non-Japanese faces.
Drifting down to the river, we watch young people messing about in rented rowing boats. A tourist boat, that brings passengers down the thrilling ride from Kameoka, is manuevering prior to being hoisted on a truck. It will then be driven back up the river for another trip. The backdrop of this river scene shows the variations of pale fresh greens, greys and insistent pink that are to be our companions on this trip.
Chikurin no michi (bamboo grove) 竹林の道
From the riverbank, we walk to the famous bamboo grove. Again, people and rickshaw pullers throng the place. How Kyoto has changed in the years since we lived here. Arashiyama and this bamboo grove use to be a tranquil place. We spend the rest of the afternoon seeking blossoms and solitude which takes us eventually to Jojakko-ji temple where both are to be found.
Takasegawa Cherry Blossom 高瀬川の桜
Back into the city centre to find dinner. We discover the finest cherry blossom views are along the Takasegawa river in Kiyamachi. Here, the illuminated tress, the lights of bars, restaurants and taxis reflected in the petal clogged water of the Takasegawa are a superb, if less tranquil, vision than the various temples we have visited.
After dinner, at Sugitama, a surprisingly cheap and reasonable quality izakaya on Kiyamachi, we return to our hotel in Hama-Otsu exhausted. We have walked 16 kilometres.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.