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Tourists flock to Kyoto during the cherry blossom season

Kyoto witnesses surge in GCC tourists

KYOTO, February 11, 2015

Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan, has been experiencing an influx of tourists from the GCC as the number of Emiratis visiting the city increased by 139 percent and Qataris increased by 1,135 per cent between April and December 2014 when compared to 2013.

“Since the opening of our promotional office in Dubai in April 2014 we have seen the number of UAE and Qatari nationals visiting Kyoto increase each month since June 2014, compared to the same month the year before. With the increased awareness of our city within the Middle East, and our efforts to provide detailed information in Arabic about the increased availability of Halal and Muslim friendly cuisine throughout the city, we believe that this year’s cherry blossom season has the potential to welcome more Middle Eastern visitors than any other year previous,” said Shuhei Akahoshi, managing director, Kyoto Convention and Visitors Bureau.  

Cherry blossom, or sakura in Japanese, is the national flower of Japan and permeates deeply many aspects of Japanese culture. The cherry blossom season is expected to commence from late March and continue to mid-April. Once it starts blooming, the sakura reaches full bloom in about a week to 10 days before gracefully floating petal by petal to the ground.   

Kyoto is an ideal city within which to enjoy the cherry blossoms because of its location and history. The city is surrounded by mountains, so cherry trees start blooming in the city first, and then trees in the surrounding mountains such as Arashiyama, Sagano and Ohara areas follow. There are many special breeds of cherry trees found in Kyoto’s many historic temples and gardens, which bloom at slightly different dates to the standard somei-yoshino breed. The UNESCO World Heritage Ninna-ji Temple,  with its omuro-zakura cherry tree breeds have long been famous since the Edo period or early 18th century, and are  renowned for being “late bloomers”, blooming about two weeks after the more common somei-yoshino variety.  Conversely, the Shidare (hanging) sakura breed found at the Kyoto Imperial Palace is famous for its early blooming. Because of this variety in breeds and locations, visitors to Kyoto during the cherry blossom season will not miss the opportunity to experience the cherry blossoms despite year to year seasonal differences.  

From April 1 to 30, the 143th Annual Spring Dance Festival, called Miyako-Odori, at Gion-Kobu Kaburenjo theatre is also held, where dozens of maiko or apprentice geiko take to the stage to perform the traditional Japanese dance and artistry.

Moreover, after the cherry blossom season, visitors can enjoy the fresh greenery of spring known as shinryoku in Japanese from mid-May to June.

Further information regarding Kyoto can be found at the official Kyoto Travel Guide at: http://www.kyoto.travel/. Muslim travellers are encouraged to visit: http://kyoto.travel/muslim/ for more information on halal travel. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Kyoto | tourism | Japan |

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