If one is going to visit Japan and especially the famous temples and grounds of Kyoto and Nara, then the time to do it is during the cherry blossom seasons or when the leaves are changing. But it is hard to know exactly when those seasons will be... The climate has been changing so though the cherry blossoms were expected in the middle of April, they bloomed early, and my friends and I just happened to be in Kyoto at the right time.
I can't remember all the names of the temples that we visited... This one had an absolutely gorgeous garden. I followed real photographers around who were carrying humongous cameras and when they stopped to take a picture I tried their angle after they'd left.
So many different types of cherry blossom trees. This was a hanging type with darker colored flowers than most.
I was quite pleased that I caught a carp in this picture.
A vendor was out by the cherry blossom trees giving out samples of Japanese sweets and sakura tea. The tea had gold leaf drifting around the bottom of the tea cup!
There seemed to be tour buses of elderly people making a pilgrimage to the many Kyoto temples. The tour members were all wearing white vests and were carrying wooden staffs. Most of them made a beeline for a place to sit within the dark temple room but they all chanted their mantra together as they paid their respects before they boarded the bus to go on to the next temple. No pictures allowed inside the temple itself.
A happy bird singing to the tourists.
And three large turtles in a pond sunning themselves!