A magnificent park spreading out to the east of Yasaka Shrine
Opened in 1886, it is the oldest park in Kyoto. In 1912, Jihei Ogawa created a garden centering on a pond making use of the natural hills which has contributed to its current appearance. The park has Yasaka Shrine to the west, Kodai-ji Temple to the south and Chion-in Temple to the north. You can enjoy the park’s beauty only found in Kyoto amid the temple roofs among the greenery of Higashiyama in the background. Within a garden that boasts an area of about 90,000㎡, you can find the storehouses for the floats used in the Gion Festival and statues of Ryoma Sakamoto and Shintaro Nakaoka along with old relics such as the Saigyo-an Hermitage and the Basho-an Hermitage. There is also a ryotei restaurant and teahouses where you can enjoy matcha tea and the local cuisine of Kyo-ryori.
A famous park with Kyoto’s finest sakura, known as The Night Cherry Blossoms of Gion
About 680 cherry trees blossom from late March to early April, and Maruyama Park comes alive with cherry blossom-viewing visitors who come out in great numbers, day or night. The weeping cherry tree next to the central pond of the park is famously known as “Gion no Yozakura” or The Night Cherry Blossoms of Gion. During the viewing season, there is illumination which lends to a spread of a mystical atmosphere. Also, many food stalls open up so it’s great to sample some of the Japanese comfort food here and there. The peak to catch the weeping cherry tree is up to early April during an average year but for the double-flowered cherry tree (Yaezakura), you can enjoy its blossoms past mid-April.
After a stroll, relish the delicacies of Kyoto with a history of 300 years
There are a number of teahouses in the park along with a shop selling a Kyoto delicacy just a bit off the main path. It is Hiranoya Honke which sells the famous imabou. Imabou is a famous example of Kyoto cuisine in which shrimp-shaped taro potatoes known as ebi-imo are cooked together with dried Pacific cod. The peeled potatoes and the dried cod softened over a week are stewed for an entire day. This unique way of cooking is called fuufu taki which has been passed down over the generations for 300 years. You can really taste the characteristic savory and sweet flavors of the ingredients. How about dropping in at the place after your stroll through Maruyama Park?