Sakuras are in full bloom, and no doubt the day time is still the best to photograph this scenic beauty. But… a sakura night illumination is of a totally different experience. Take the chance at Kyoto’s celebrated Kiyomizu-dera Temple this hanami season, as it’s one of the few times of the year where the temple organise a light up event for visitors to enjoy the attraction after dark. Otherwise, most temples and shrines in Kyoto (and Japan) are closed in the evening!

We were exploring the Higashiyama district right before sunset, and Kiyomizu-dera temple wasn’t initially part of the plan. It was only until we encountered a road block while walking along the rows of traditional houses in this historic district, and were told to pay an entrance fee before we could proceed. This was out of nowhere, as this supposed entrance isn’t where the main entry point of the temple. But instead of doing a u-turn, the adventurous gotta do what we gotta do!

Immediately upon entering, I was already impressed. It’s one of those moments where you take a panoramic glance with your eyes, and already couldn’t decide which way you should head to first. Snapchat ready, digital camera ready, and film camera ready. It’s just another moment where I couldn’t decide which device I should whip out first. Just look at these illuminated pink trees lit under the night sky, I’m sold:

I’ve to say, photos don’t do these justice, and I’m definitely not the best photographer around to take night shots (handles are my tripods, or maybe Huang’s shoulders ha!), so if you’re a photography enthusiast, you should not miss this out. It’s just so beautiful!

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If we have to select a few key temples to visit in Japan, then Kiyomizu-dera is definitely among the top of the list. Locals and tourists alike visit this temple all year round, albeit for different reasons. Religious motivations aside, this temple gives you a beautiful bird’s eye view of Kyoto.

And if you’re planning to head there during Autumn, you’ll be in for a treat with spectacular maple trees instead! Light-up event for Autumn are expected to be from November onwards, but do take a double check before heading over as every year’s blooming season might differ. Have fun & happy travels!

Entrance fee: 100 yen
Time required: 2 hours
Visit their website to find out more.

keep travelling,
J