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Expect crowds among blossoms

The Baltimore Sun

When is the best time to see the cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan, before the crowds arrive?

Your window is so small that it's almost impossible not to encounter crowds. Because the blossoms are in bloom only about 14 days (usually late March), you're likely to see lots of people at temples, gardens and parks every day enjoying the flowers.

If you go, here are some favorite spots in and around Kyoto:

Maruyama Park, a public park next to the Yasaka Shrine, features a large weeping cherry tree that is lit up at night.

Philosopher's Trail, starting at the Ginkakuji Temple, is a path next to a canal lined with hundreds of trees.

The Arashiyama district northwest of the city, where trees can be found near the Togetsukyo Bridge at the foot of the Arashiyama Mountains.

In 2007, the first day of blossoms was March 25 in Kyoto. The full bloom is usually one week after the day of the first bloom; blossoms begin falling soon after.

For more information, go to japantravel info.com, the Japan National Tourist Organization's Web site.

Our family of five adults is planning a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Paris. Do European hotels have rooms that accommodate three adult children?

Many hotel rooms in Europe tend to be small and cramped, so finding one large enough for three adults isn't easy.

Durant Imboden, whose Web site europeforvisitors.com is a good source for information such as transportation, currency and other topics, suggests looking at a furnished apartment if you plan on visiting Paris for a few days. His recommendations: rentals-paris.com and homerentalconnec tions.com.

In Copenhagen, you might want to consider a hostel. Imboden says they're among the nicest in Europe. Check out danhostel.dk.

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