Philosopher's Path does sound poetically ancient, don't you think? In reality, it is one of the newer attractions of northeastern Kyoto, built as recently as during the Meiji era (everything is relative, of course, as even this is now way over 100 years back). And instead of some venerable Zen philosopher, it is named after Professor Nishido Kitaro, an influential 20th century philosopher, who used to do his daily meditation by walking this charming stone-paved stretch that follows a narrow water canal and is lined by hundreds of cherry trees.
Philosopher's Path gets very busy during the hanami season, with thousands tourists - most of them Japanese - wandering through the three kilometer walk. All of them admire the sakura blossoms, searching for the most handsome blooms to catch on their cameras and the best places for the mandatory poses for their family albums. Small cafés cater for the crowds, offering drinks from green tea to sake and Asahi beer, and anything in between. The walk passes several temples and shrines like the Ginkaku-ji, Honen-in, Otoyo Shrine and Eikan-do Zenrin-ji, making it a perfect destination for a whole day of discoveries.
In our case, despite the amazing blooms, adding even one small temple would have been stretching my girl's limits on that hot and sunny afternoon, so we just settled for an aptly-flavored pink sakura ice cream, sitting the shade of the cherries and watching the crowds go past. Our own perfect little hanami-party, we thought.