In the fall it was Arashiyama; then Nijo Castle; now it is Higashiyama's turn to be illuminated. Throughout the year, the city of Kyoto sponsors artistic illumination in and around some of the city's most beautiful areas, of which Higashiyama certainly qualifies.
My daughter and I walked from near the Minami-za kabuki theater up past Yasaka Shrine, on towards Kodaiji along the lively Nene no Michi street. From there it is a short walk to the narrow cobbled lane known as Sannenzaka that runs up towards Kiyomizu Temple.
And everywhere were lights and small lamps, the latter casting a delicate glow against temple walls, wooden slats, and stone streets.
There was a fair sized crowd, but it was subdued and the size of the streets and the night air made strolling comfortable. All of the local shops were open late, and it felt more like Barcelona or an Italian city at night than Kyoto.
Local tea and confectionary companies were giving out samples. We had cups of a pinkish tea with flecks of gold in the bottom as young rickshaw drivers pulled couples and young women around on tours.
The illumination continues until March 21. It runs nightly from 6 - 9:30 pm.
Later in the spring, Kiyomizu Temple is scheduled to be lit up.
From Gion, a 10-15 minute walk. You can go through Yasaka Shrine and then head out the south end. Or a ten-minute walk from the Higashiyama bus stop. Bus #206.
Books on Japanese Art and Design
Japan Kyoto Kodaiji Japanese Buddhism Ryokan Illumination
Tuesday, March 13, 2007