Stories from Kyoto: The Secret Cherry Tree

My parents’ visit to Tokyo, Kyoto, and then the Hiroshima and Yamaguchi areas lasted for about 10 days. I could explain every little thing with lots of pictures, but I think it’d be more interesting to pull out little things that took place and post a picture or two for it. All the places we went are in my Facebook albums, so if you know me in real life, you can go and see! My parents came first and toured Tokyo by themselves, and we met up on Kyoto on March 26.


On our first day in Kyoto (3.26), we were wandering around near the hotel in the general area I’d planned for us to explore. It was pretty cold outside, colder than Tokyo had been for my parents or Waki for me. Since it has been warm in Tokyo, the blossoms bloomed a whole week or two earlier than anyone predicted, and my parents were able to see many blossoms in full bloom. And also, there weren’t very many foreign tourists when they went, because everyone planned their trips for the first couple weeks of April, which is the normal time.

Nobody in Tokyo was caught off guard, though, and everyone was out picnicking on tarps.
My mom’s picture from Tokyo. Nobody in Tokyo was caught off guard, though, and everyone was out picnicking on tarps.

In Kyoto, because of the weather, most of the blossoms weren’t expected to bloom till the first two weeks of April, and we saw some here and there, but you had to look. We turned down a covered shopping street to get out of the cold, because even though the shopping street is outdoors, it’s shielded on both sides by buildings and the wind doesn’t blow in there.

The street was called Demachi (出町).

When we were on our way out, I’m not sure how he knew I spoke Japanese, but a man working in a shop came up to us and told us that there was a really great cherry blossom tree up ahead, and we should really go see it. He gave us directions to a temple just up ahead, and we walked toward it. It was pretty easy to find, but not something we would have gone looking for on our own, especially as there are many Buddhist temples in Kyoto. Since it’s not a huge tourist destination-type temple, we could just walk in without having to pay any fares or anything.

When we came inside the walls and passed through the gate overhead and beheld this tree, I was completely awestruck.

本山本満寺, which I think you can just refer to as “Honman-ji.”

Mom said it might be the fullest tree they’d seen up till that point, and I wanted to just stay there and keep looking at it…when you stand under it, it’s like it’s pressing pause on a cherry blossom waterfall:


There were only about three or four other people there, and it was very quiet. I think the people who know about it know about it, but it’s “only one tree” so I don’t know if tourists would go. I think this was my favorite tree, though, especially as it was essentially a gift from someone else. I’m glad we got to say thanks to that man on our way back.


3 thoughts on “Stories from Kyoto: The Secret Cherry Tree

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