Shidare Zakura on Sannen-Zaka
A big hello to anyone coming here today for the first time, who received one of my photo cards from me on the bridge over the Kamogawa (Kamo river) on Sanjo-dori in Kyoto today. I hope you're having a great time visiting Kyoto, the weather was fantastic today wasn't it? By the way, I've now handed out all of my March edition photo cards, I'm planning to do one in April. At the moment the Kawazu Zakura (a type of Cherry Blossom) are in bloom in Kyoto, they bloom about 2-3 weeks before the Somei Yoshino Sakura (the most common type of Cherry Blossoms in Japan).
Today I'm featuring another type of Cherry Blossom which is the Shidare Zakura (Weeping Cherry Blossom), these start to bloom as the Somei Yoshino Sakura come to their peak, at times I've photographed them together. They remain in bloom for a little while longer, after the Somei Yoshino Sakura's blooms are over. This photo was taken during the Higashiyama Hanatouro of 2010. That year spring arrived a little earlier than usual and this particular Shidare Zakura on Sannen-Zaka (a narrow street with many traditional shop buildings near Kiyomizu-dera) was in bloom during the last few days of the Higashiyama Hanatouro, I've not seen it in bloom during the Higashiyama Hanatouro since then.
Speaking of the Higashiyama Hanatouro it's on at this very moment until Sunday night (March 23rd). If you're here visiting Kyoto or other near by places on holidays at the moment, make sure you see it. If you're a resident of the Kansai area and you have a free evening, please check it out if you haven't already. Make sure you bring some warm clothes, as it the temperatures in Kyoto can drop fast at this time of year, even if it was warm at the start of the Hanatouro for the evening (6:00pm).
The Higashiyama Hanatouro covers most of the Western face of Higashiyama. Good starting points are: Yasaka-jinja in Gion; From a few blocks east of the number 2 exit of Higashiyama Subway station (there are some signs at the station); Outside of Kiyomizu-dera. Some parts of the Hanatouro course can be crowded, but overall since the Higashiyama Hanatouro course covers a lot more area it never seems quite so crowded as the Arashiyama Hanatouro. If you're able to go on a non public holiday week night, it will probably be even less crowded.
As I was saying March 2010 was warmer than usual, and I remember well the evening I took the photo, the temperature stayed at 17C until late. This photo was taken early that evening at the beginning of my walk on the Hanatouro course, I started outside Kiyomizu-dera that time and walked to Yasaka-jinja. I bought dinner from various food vendors who had set up shop in the grounds of Yasaka-jinja. I remember chatting to a number of people from a diverse range of countries while sitting down to eat, great times, great memories. This photo was captured on Fujicolor PRO 400 film using a Nikon F80 camera and an AF Nikkor 35f/2D lens mounted on a monopod.