Jun 30 | Evan | Comments Off on The Old Capital in Bloom: Experiencing Kyoto during Cherry Blossom Season 2023 |
The next stop on our 2023 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour was Kyoto, the old capital of Japan and a city steeped in history, tradition, and breathtaking beauty. After a challenging start with the weather, we were greeted with sunny skies and blossoming sakura trees upon our arrival in Kyoto. However, with each passing day, the cherry blossoms were shedding their petals, slowly transitioning from peak bloom to the ephemeral beauty of falling sakura.
Yet, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it turned out to be a blessing during our portrait session with a local geiko, a woman I’ve had the pleasure of photographing for several years now. She is always composed and elegant, but when a sudden “blizzard” of falling cherry blossom petals occurred, she burst into genuine, joyous laughter. The moment was pure magic, the falling sakura petals serving as the perfect backdrop to her radiant smile. It was truly a unique and heartwarming moment, reminding us of the spontaneous beauty that can occur in photography.
Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is a city rich in cultural heritage. It boasts over 1,600 Buddhist temples, 400 Shinto shrines, and 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, each with its own unique story and beauty. This abundance of historical and cultural sites makes Kyoto a photographer’s paradise, providing countless opportunities for both classic and unconventional shots.
Of course, we made sure to visit the iconic sites like Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion), Ginkaku-ji (the Silver Pavilion), the Philosopher’s Path, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Kiyomizu-dera, Ninna-ji, Ryōan-ji, and Fushimi Inari Taisha. Each location offered its unique blend of nature and architecture, the cherry blossoms adding a touch of seasonal charm to these timeless landmarks.
But our journey through Kyoto wasn’t limited to the well-known spots. We also ventured to some lesser-known sites, hidden gems that offered unique photographic opportunities away from the crowds. Whether it was a lesser-known shrine tucked away in a quiet neighborhood or a beautiful garden off the beaten path, these hidden spots allowed us to experience and capture a different side of Kyoto.
Our time in Kyoto was filled with memorable experiences, beautiful sites, and unforgettable photographic moments. As we witnessed the city’s transition from peak cherry blossom season to the fleeting beauty of falling sakura, we were reminded of the transient nature of beauty and the importance of capturing these moments through our lenses. As we packed our bags for the next leg of our journey, we carried with us the images and memories of Kyoto, a city that beautifully blends the old with the new, the iconic with the hidden, and the transient with the timeless.