Kyoto’s Ninnaji Temple is famous for its cherry blossoms. Especially it’s very own variety, known as Omoro-zakura, which typically bloom a week or so later than the standard-bearer Somei Yoshino variety. The trees themselves are also comparatively shorter, so you can see the blossoms at eye-level.
The temple was formerly known as the Omuro Imperial Palace, and it is now the head temple of the Omuro school of Shingon Buddhism — hence the “Omuro” in the tree name. The festival is officially called the Omuro Hana Matsuri.
The Omuro-zakura can be found in a grove on the west side of the temple’s Chumon gate. There are also some Somei Yoshino cherry trees in front of the main hall and one of those dramatic weeping cherry trees by the bell tower.
Ninnaji’s annual spring festival is actually about more than just sakura — there are exhibitions, too. This is one of the three times during the year that the temple’s Reihokan (Treasure Hall) opens to the public (except for Mondays, when it is closed). This is where the temple’s art collection, which includes 47 works classified as National Treasures, is housed. For 2022, there will also be rotating exhibitions of art works by contemporary Kyoto artists in the palace garden.
The exhibitions cost extra. A combined ticket for the flower festival and either the Reihokan OR the palace garden costs ¥1,100. Children under 12 are free.
For more ideas of places to visit in Kyoto during cherry blossom season, check out our guide to Kyoto’s top sakura spots.To prevent the spread of COVID-19, many events have been canceled. Always check official sites before heading to an event.