Heian-Jingu Shrine’s Landscape and Gardens

Shobi-kan, East Garden’s Seiho-ike, photography, Japanese cherry blossoms, Shidarezakura or weeping cherry, hanami, Heian-Jingu Shrine,  Heian-Jingu Cherry Blossom Season, photography by Jim Caldwell Redondo Beach

Garden bridge at the Heian Jingu Shrine, photography by Jim Caldwell Redondo Beach

For a few short weeks as spring rolls through Japan, much of the countryside turns to cherry blossom season.  At first they are just small buds of green but at a certain point the buds just explode into a sea of white and pink pedals.

The gardens of Heian-Jingu Shrine capture the beauty of this event.  At first it is the somei yoshino trees.  These are trees with the almost all white, five pedal flowers, having just a touch of pink in their center.  Somei yoshino flowers arrive usually a couple weeks ahead of the other varieties.  Pretty soon the other cherry blossom varieties decide to take center stage.  At Heian-Jingu Shrine, shidarezakura, or weeping cherries, envelop much their surroundings with an incredible white and pink canopy.

Heian’s south garden, Minami Shin’en, is renowned for shidarezakura, the weeping cherry.  With night time backlighting, hanami becomes a dramatic event.  The Minami Shin’en remain open at night from the cherry viewing season all the way through summer.  Check the schedule during summer.  You may get to see a concert while you are there.

Crafted over 20 years by one of Japan’s master landscapers, Jihei Ogawa, the gardens of Heian Jingu’s stylistically are born out of the Meiji-era (1868-1912.  Made up of four gardens: Higashi Shin’en (East Garden), Minami Shin’en (South Garden), Naka Shin’en (Middle Garden) and Nishi Shin’en (West Garden).


Jim Caldwell
Redondo Beach
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