Heian Shrine was founded in 1895 in commemoration of Kyoto’s 1100th anniversary. It is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the Emperor Kammu and the Empeor Komei, the founder and the last emperor of the Kyoto Capital respectively. “Heian” is the ancient name of Kyoto which literally means “peace and tranquility”.
“Shin-en”, the sacred gardens of the Heian Shrine, consists of four gardens. In spring, the major attraction is 紅枝垂桜 Benishidare cherry blossoms in the South and the East Garden. Benishidare bloom crimson-pink flowers on many long-hanging twigs. Many of Benishidare at the shrine is double-flowered. The moment you enter the South Garden, you'll be overwhelmed by the huge crimson-pink flowery parasols spreading over the ground.
The area is enveloped in the pink cascade of clouds, above your head....
.... before your eyes,
・・ and in the pond.
Many long branches laden with blossoms are supported by the massive trunks and by the lattice made of bamboo as well.
|白虎池 Byakko-ike Pond in the West Garden|
Moving to the East Garden, pale-pink Someiyoshino welcomes you. They are by far the most numerous variety in Japan and bloom and fall within a week, while Benishidare last two weeks.
|鵯/Hiyodori, or brown-eared bulbul (Hypsipetes amaurotis)|
|Shrine maidens are making previous arrangement for the wedding.|
Flowers were glinting off the light.
The other structure, 泰平閣（橋殿）Taihei-kaku bridge across the pond serves as a gazebo on the water. It is a cypress bark-shingled wooden structure, too.
This is a view from Taihei-kaku. The heron might be mesmerized by the dazzling pink.
After leaving Heian Shrine, I found pristine white cherry blossoms at the park in front of the shrine. Being so familiar to the blossoms of shades of pink, the pure white blossoms looked so fresh.
And, young ladies dressed in kimono, too.
The photo of a sightseeing boat on Okazaki Sosui Canal was taken while I was heading for the nearby Kyoto Subway station. The threads of weeping willows were getting longer and greener.