Japan is a small largely populated country where the majority of its 128 million residents celebrate spring by going to a park or shrine to see cherry blossoms. Parks and shrines are usually crowded on weekends and popular ones are even crowded on weekdays. This is true for Sewari Park located in Yawatashi, Kyoto.
Sewari is a peninsula that stretches between the Uji and Kizu rivers. 15 years ago, most people in Japan had never heard of Sewari. Sewari peninsula is over 1.5 kilometers long. There is green grass on either side of the main walkway that goes down the center of the peninsula. The main walkway is lined with over 250 sakura trees that create a beautiful cherry blossom tunnel when the trees are bloomed. On both sides of the trees there are walkways along the grass and large spacious grassy areas where visitors can sit and enjoy the blossoms, eat bento lunch boxes and drink sake to celebrate the coming of spring. It is open to the public for free. Parking nearby Yawata station is 100 yen per hour, but very small. A very large parking area west of the Sewari can accommodate a hundred or so cars and is currently 1000 yen for the day during hanami, cherry blossom season.
This year, not surprisingly, Sewari has been deemed the #1 Hanami Spot in the Kansai region according to the many visitors. Many have also reported seeing news about Sewari on TV, which would explain for the all the helicopters hovering over the park this week. Everyday this week, thousands of people have flocked to the park, most arriving after 11am.
Tip: If you wish to see the cherry blossoms at this park, you’d better get up early in the morning and arrive before everyone else. After 11am, it becomes very crowded.