Many tourists come to Kyoto to see the cherry blossoms in spring. From mid to late March is the time when cherry blossoms begin to bloom, and Kyoto enters the high season of sightseeing. Here’s what you need to know in order to enjoy Kyoto, a city full of people, in March.
Weather and What to Wear in Kyoto in March
Weather and Temperature in Kyoto in March
In March Kyoto enters the long-awaited full-fledged spring tourism season. From mid-March, cherry blossoms begin to bloom, and Kyoto is colored pink, creating a gorgeous atmosphere. Looking at the average temperature in Kyoto in March, the highest temperature is 15 ℃ (59 °F）, the lowest temperature is 5 ℃ (41°F) and the average temperature is 10 ℃ (50°F). The arrival of the season is exciting for both children and adults. It is the best season to enjoy the quaint ancient city of Kyoto along with cherry blossoms!
What to Wear in Kyoto in March
Even in March, when spring has arrived, there are still days when the temperatures fall, especially in the mornings and evenings. During the day, it is not so cold, but the temperature is still unstable, so you need a jacket for when it is cold. We recommend that you wear thin long sleeves and adjust your outfit with a jacket. It may be useful to keep stoles or small blankets in your bag as you can wrap them around your neck if you get cold and if the kids suddenly feel cold they can use them too.
Events in Kyoto in March
Shokoku-ji Temple Spring Exhibition
It was founded by the Muromachi Shogunate’s third general, Yoshimitsu Ashikaga. It is a special exhibition of the main temple of the Rinzai Sogoku-ji Temple, which has Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji as famous tourist spots. You can tour the hall, Kaizan-do, and the bathing room.
Place：Shokoku-ji Temple (Kyoto City Kamigyo Ward Imadegawa-dori Karasuma Higashi-iru
When: Late March – early June
Ginkakuji Spring Exhibition
This is a special exhibition at Ginkaku-ji Temple, a symbol of Higashiyama culture built by the Muromachi Shogunate’s eighth general Yoshimasa Ashikaga. You can see the National Treasure Higashi Gokudo Dojinsai and Yusei Tei, which were the origins of the tea ceremony and flower arrangement, as well as the sliding door paintings of Okuda Motosong, Yosaebu Village, and Ike Taiga.
Place: Ginkakuji (Kyoto City Sakyo Ward Ginkakuji-cho 2)
When: Mid March – early May
Shinnyodo Map of Nirvana Exhibition
A painting of Nirvana, painted in the Edo Period, will be on exhibit. Measuring over six meters tall and four meters wide, it is said to have more types of animals drawn on it than any other map of Nirvana in Japan. Looking for different animals on the map can be fun if you go with your kids. This map is rare in that it has cats on it, which typically don’t appear on paintings of Nirvana.
Place: Shinnyodo (Kyoto City Sakyo Ward Jodoji Shinnyo-cho 82)
When: March 1 – March 31
Kiyomizu Temple Special Night Viewing
The famous Kiyomizu Stage will be lit up for nighttime visitors along with 1000 cherry blossom trees. You can look down on Kyoto City, enjoying the night view of the quaint city below.
Place: Kiyomizu-dera Temple (Kyoto City Higashiyama Ward Kiyomizu 1-294)
When: March 6th – 15th & March 27th – April 5th (Last entry is at 21:00)
Kodai-ji Temple Nighttime Visiting Hours
Kodai-ji Temple was founded by Kitanomandokoro, a successor of Hideyoshi Toyotomi. The gardens are dotted with Important Cultural Properties such as Kumatei, Shiguretei, and Mizukidai, and the illuminated trees reflected in the pond look so mysterious.
Place: Kodai-ji Temple (Kyoto City Higashiyama Ward Kodaiji Shimokawahara-cho 526)
When: March 8 – May 6, 2020
Tofuku-ji Temple Service Commemorating Death of Buddha
A large painting of Nirvana is displayed in the main hall. It is about 12 meters long and about 6 meters wide. It is a work of a famous painter Akiho of the Muromachi period, and the size and style of the painting are amazing. In addition you can see National Treasures Sanmon and Ryugin-an as well as performances and rituals.
Place: Tofuku-ji Temple (Kyoto City Higashiyama Ward Motomachi 15-778)
When: March 14th – 16th
Entoku-ji Temple Light-up
The northern courtyard, which was originally the front garden of Fushimi Castle, was relocated to this location and has been designated as a National Scenic Spot. It is a temple where you can still feel the gorgeous atmosphere of the Azuchi-Momoyama period.
Place: Entoku-ji Temple (Kyoto City Higashiyama Ward Kodaiji Shimokawahara-cho 530)
When: March 6th – early May
Hokyo-ji Imperial Convent Spring Doll Exhibit
Hokyo-ji Imperial Convent, also known as the “Temple of the Dolls” will have its annual Spring Doll Exhibit. Hokyo-ji Imperial Convent, like other such convents in Kyoto and Nara, possesses many dolls. This is because the residing princess-nuns often received dolls from their fathers, the emperor of the time, from season to season. You can see dolls which belonged princess-nuns throughout history. In addition, you can view elegant “fusuma” paintings and gardens on the temple grounds. Enjoy a bit of Japanese culture by seeing the dolls which have been handed down throughout Japan’s history.
Place: Hokyo-ji Imperial Convent (Kyoto City Kamigyo Ward Teranouchi-dori Horikawa Higashi-iru)
When: March 1 – April 3
Nijo Castle Cherry Blossom Festival
Over 200 cherry blossom trees of different varieties, around the castle grounds, will be lit up for night time viewing.
Place: Nijo Castle (Kyoto City Nakagyo Ward Nijo-dori Horikawa Nishi-iri Nijo-jo-cho 541)
When: Late March – Early April
Tea House Kyobuntei – Special Opening
Kyobuntei was used by the Emperor Gozakuracho as a study during the Edo period. During this special opening period, you can enjoy formal tea ceremony. By all means, try Japanese tea ceremony with children!
Place: Shoren-in Temple (Kyoto City Higashiyama Ward Awataguchi Sanjobo-cho)
When: Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays from late March to early May
3 Things to be Careful of When Visiting Kyoto in March
From mid March when the cherry blossoms start blooming, Kyoto enters its high tourism season. It is recommended to book hotels as early as possible. As the streets will likely be crowded with tourists, you will want to give yourself plenty of time to get where you would like to go. You can expect long waits at many sightseeing spots and restaurants, so if you have something in your bag which can keep kids entertained, it will be helpful. If you need something, drop by any 100 yen store and pick up a package of origami paper. It is perfect for folding, of course, but also for drawing on.
2. Timing of Meals
Pretty much everywhere will be crowded, and you will likely have to wait to be seated when you go to eat. In order to get the most bang for your sightseeing time, the timing of your meals is important. When kids get hungry they often end up in a bad mood, so it may be best to have an earlier lunch than usual, or even drop by one of the many bakeries around Kyoto and pick up some bread to keep on hand for emergencies. Of course you can also drop by any nearby “conbini” (convenience store) if the kids suddenly can’t wait for their next meal.
3. Difference in Temperatures
You can see many nighttime viewing events in Kyoto in March. As these take place at night, you will want to be prepared with warm clothing. Even if it is a bit warm during the day, you can expect it to be much cooler, even cold at night. Having a jacket on hand for those times you plan to be out early or late is a good idea.
Kids Club & Family Tour Plans for March
With the arrival of March, the days are warmer and the flowers start blooming. It is a perfect time of year to visit Kyoto and do some sightseeing with your kids. Why not visiting Kyoto for spring break? Kyoto with Kids is releasing more and more tours which take families to spots not found in guidebooks, spots which only local moms would know to visit. For more information, be sure to check out our website, https://kyotowithkids.com/services/