On the first weekend I used the last chance to do some hanami, before most blossoms have fallen from the cherry trees.
In the first half of the day I visited the southern Higashiyama region, all the way from Kiyomizu-dera to Heian-jingu. In the afternoon I went shopping in Shijo-Kawaramachi.
Thanks to the convenient location of my accommodation I can reach many places without trouble, especially in the East. With the bus I made a short trip south to Gojozaka, from where I climbed Chawanzaka towards Kiyomizu-dera.
Here is a recommendation for your next visit: Before reaching the top, there is a small path branching off on the left side. It is also marked with a map. Look out for it and climb up the shallow path called Asahizaka and you will find a lovely café with a breathtaking view over Kyoto. Especially at this time when the cherry tree in the garden is in its best shape I recommend to visit this place. It was not crowded and I could get a table near the window. With a matcha and wagashi set I enjoyed the moment for a while.
In general, it was not very busy in Kyoto for a Sunday with good weather. Especially compared with pre-pandemic, the contrast is enormous. It still can get busy near sightseeing spots and at narrow streets, but otherwise it is very pleasant to explore Kyoto at the moment.
Next I took a look at Kiyomizu-dera, the arguably most famous temple in all of Kyoto and a must-see attraction. Last time I visited the big wooden terrace was renovated; now they’re finished and it looks gorgeous.
Afterwards I followed the classical route along Ninenzaka And Sannenzaka towards Yasaka-jinja. On the way I enjoyed a cold pickled cucumber (totally different from the Western version) – just the right thing on a hot day.
Adjacent to Yasaka-shrine lies Maruyama park, a nice public park with a small river and one particularly old cherry tree. There one can also have a bite at various food stalls (maybe only on the weekend).
Further going north I arrived at the Okazaki canal which is also lined with cherry trees. Right behind is Heian-jingu, another famous shrine of Kyoto. After stepping through the impressive torii I arrived in the vast courtyard. I still remember well coming here in February 2022 for the Setsubun celebration.
The main attraction of the shrine is slightly hidden. On the left one can enter the garden that spreads out far beyond the visible premise. The cherries there were especially beautiful and I am sure the garden will also be beautiful in other seasons.
After the long walk I rested at home for a bit, then followed the small Okazaki Shirokawa down to Gion. On the way I found a wagashi shop where I could buy my favorite Sakura mochi.
In Gion I did not do that much exploring in the end, but focused more on shopping. I will come back on another day to explore the area.