Nijo Castle Sakura Festival Showcases Kyoto’s Ephermal Beauty

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By Cher
Nijo Castle

Breathtaking Blooms Amid Historical Heritage

Constructed back in 1603, the Nijo Castle was once the residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of Japan. This World Heritage site is not only known for its rich historical and cultural heritage but also for the breathtaking beauty of sakura or cherry blossoms. With over 500 cherry trees adorning the grounds, it serves as one of Kyoto’s top cherry blossom viewing spots bustling with locals and foreigners alike during the blooming season, typically from late March until mid-April.

Sakura Illumination: Transcending Beauty Underneath The Night Sky

The spectacle at the Nijo Castle truly comes alive during the evening illuminations, held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., when majestic clusters of trees transform into illuminated wonders, casting enchanting hues over a crowd who patiently waits in line to witness this magical sight. It’s one of the best known Kyoto events in March.

The illumination event started a few years back under Tokyo-based art collective Naked, crafting an experience that has since become an annual tradition drawing tourists from around the globe.

Creative Displays and Interactive Attractions

At the heart of this event is an artistic projection mapping displayed on the castle’s grand Karamon gate – a showstopping blend of color and light bound to captivate any observer. Supplementing these are interactive displays that encourage audience participation, rounding out an immersive experience while surrounded by sakura in full bloom. The attendees can also look forward to a nighttime tea ceremony under a dazzling canvas of cherry blossoms—a unique celebration echoing Japan’s deep appreciation for natural beauty and tranquillity.

Sakura trees

Exploring Sakura no Sono And Seiryuen

Apart from the site’s main attractions, visitors have much more to explore within Nijo Castle’s extensive grounds. Upon entering the castle premises, one is met with Karamon or “Chinese Gate”, leading into Sakura no Sono, or “Cherry Tree Garden”. Home to numerous sakura species like sato-zakura (Japanese Cherry), which are believed to date back to Heian Period (794-1185).

After passing through Sakura no Sono comes Seiryuen garden—a large garden marked by rocks and lawns adorned with different types of sakura trees like yama-zakura (wild cherry) and shidare-zakura (weeping cherry). One highlight is an enchanting sakura tunnel capturing hearts with its delicate, ephemeral beauty.

Moments of Respite Amid Blooming Beauty

To ward off chilly evenings amidst long strolls, stalls offering hot drinks and food line a garden next to Seiryuen, presenting perfect spots for rest while enveloped by blossoming sakura.

In essence, Kyoto’s Nijo Castle promises experiences beyond ordinary—it captures moments in time where cultures collide under gloaming skies showered by thousands of blooming sakura—a sight that returns only for a few weeks before bidding goodbye until next year.

Want another view of cherry blossoms in March? Experience the enchanting beauty of Kyoto’s Okazaki Canal with a boat ride like no other! Traverse the picturesque watercourse, surrounded by blooming cherry trees and breathtaking scenery. Whether you choose a daytime cruise, capturing the luscious snapshots of Sakura trees along the three-kilometer stretch, or a special nighttime ride during cherry blossom season, the Okazaki Canal Boat Rides offer a unique perspective on this impressive spectacle.

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