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Kyoto: Night Illumination Kiyomizudera

Date Published: Last Update:2014/12/17 Entertainment, Food, Traditional Culture, Travel & View point , , ,

After that nice city stroll, the hunt was on again – the hunt for autumn foliage that is. Earlier that day we started our hunt at northwest part of Kyoto (Kagamiishi Dori) where we found beautiful concentrations of momiji foliage. This time we were set to see one of the best night illuminations in one of Kyoto’s most celebrated temples – Kiyomizudera.

At the foot of the hill we came across this two lovely ladies, dressed in ornate kimono’s almost resembling a maiko. Both girls might resemble maiko’s but they are not REAL maiko’s. Apparently for a certain amount of money, one can dress like one and pretend to be one. Which is great for tourist like me who are great fans of the elusive maiko’s. Most if not all of this maiko like girls will gladly pose for a picture with you – which I did.

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Young Japanese girls dressed like maiko’s

This is not my first time to visit this beautiful temple, I am well aware of the tourist crowds that visit this everyday but wow was I surprised to see how crowded it got that night. Imagine standing in line for an hour just to get inside the temple grounds. Good thing the path that led towards the temple were lined with souvenir shops, tea houses and restaurants which were a nice distraction from the hour long wait to get inside the temple. If you want to grab a snack, I strongly recommend you try the Agemochi – it was so delicious and they were only 50 yen a piece sadly I forgot the get the name of the shop.

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When the temple finally opened for the night events (temple grounds are closed at 17:30 and then re-opens at 18:30 for the special night illumination), temple staff controlled the massive entry of visitors by letting us in batch per batch. Just by observing how efficient the system they had implemented, the temple staff must have had so much experience handling such huge crowds. Another thing that I noticed and appreciated so much was the patience shown by all the visitors, nobody was cutting in line – all where just patiently standing there and more importantly nobody was pushing. I just wish all the lines or crowded places I have ever been where as organize as this.

Once inside people were just everywhere, taking snap shots of the breath taking momiji leaves as well as Kyoto’s night scene – you could very well see the city light from the temple. Though some parts of the temple were closed due to restoration, it did not at all affect the experience. The beauty of autumn colors during the night illuminations was just spectacular.

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Momojigari is truly one experience you should not miss when you are here – it is nice to get lost in paths unfamiliar to you and just following the trail of colorful leaves of autumn. A bit of travel tip though especially in visiting temples – Japanese are well known to be on time or early birds so if your not a fan of falling in line for an hour just like what I experienced in Kiyomizudera, try to come here about an hour or an hour and a half after it opens because by then there are no more lines.

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