November 26, 2023

Night Walks in Kyoto in Autumn

Kyoto is now in the height of the fall foliage season, and many tourists from inside and outside of the country are visiting Kyoto.
One of the most popular attractions among these tourists is the special nighttime viewing and lighting up of shrines and temples.
Among them, I went for a night walk to see the illumination of Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, which attracts many visitors every time I visit the temple.

On the way to Kiyomizu-Dera Temple on foot from my house, I passed by the Minami-za Theater, the birthplace of Kabuki. I came across a Maneki-age in preparation for the Kabuki “Kichirei-Kaomise”(*) performance that will begin on December 1.
A Maneki is a signboard in front of a theater with the names of the actors who will appear during the performance.
This Maneki-age is also one of the most popular winter scenic features in Kyoto.

Manekiage" work at Kyoto Minami-za Theater
Manekiage” work at Kyoto Minami-za Theater

The celebratory stage curtain for this year’s show is based on an original drawing created by artist Takashi Murakami.
Incidentally, Takashi Murakami will hold a major exhibition in Kyoto next February.
I will cover this topic another time in this blog.

Further along the walk, the five-story pagoda of Hokanji Temple came into view. It is commonly known as “Yasaka-no-to” (Yasaka Pagoda).

Hokanji Temple Yasaka-no-to (Pagoda of Yasaka)
Hokanji Temple Yasaka-no-to (Pagoda of Yasaka)

Further up the hill, the illuminated Niomon Gate, Nishimon Gate, and the three-story pagoda of Kiyomizu-Dera Temple came into view.
The area around the famous “stage” of the main hall was so crowded that we could hardly move.

Niomon Gate, Nishimon Gate, and the three-story pagoda of Kiyomizu-dera Temple lit up
Niomon Gate, Nishimon Gate, and the Three-story Pagoda of Kiyomizu-Dera Temple Illuminated

Although it was very crowded, the autumn foliage was at its peak, and the illumination combined with the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple buildings created a fantastic atmosphere, making it an enjoyable evening stroll.

The " Nishimon " (West Gate) of Kiyomizu-Dera Temple lit up
The ” Nishimon ” (West Gate) of Kiyomizu-Dera Temple Illuminated
Three-storied Pagoda" of Kiyomizu-Dera Temple lit up
“Three-storied Pagoda” of Kiyomizu-Dera Temple Illuminated
Kiyomizu-Dera Temple lit up with autumn leaves and a night view of the " Hon-do and Butai" (main hall and stage) and the city of Kyoto
Kiyomizu-Dera Temple Illuminated with autumn leaves and a night view of the ” Hon-do and Butai” (main hall and stage) and the city of Kyoto
Kiyomizu-Dera Temple lit up with autumn leaves and a night view of the " Hon-do and Butai" (main hall and stage) and the city of Kyoto
Kiyomizu-Dera Temple Illuminated with autumn leaves and a night view of the ” Hon-do and Butai” (main hall and stage)
Kiyomizu Temple " Butai" (stage) and autumn leaves looking up from below
Kiyomizu-Dera Temple ” Butai” (stage) and autumn leaves looking up from below
Kiyomizu Temple's "Okuno-in" lit up
Kiyomizu-Dera Temple’s “Okuno-in” Illuminated
Kiyomizu-Dera Temple's autumn leaves and " Three-story Pagoda" lit up

* Kabuki’s Kaomise Performance is a traditional kabuki event held annually at the Minamiza Theater in Kyoto, Japan.
The event celebrates the opening of a new theatrical year and is held annually in December. Here, new actors and performances are unveiled.
The Kichirei-Kaomise Performance began in the Edo period (1603-1867) and is an important event in the history and culture of Kabuki, which is still carried on today. Traditional costumes, spectacular stage sets, and unique acting styles leave a deep impression on the audience. It is popular among many tourists as a great opportunity to experience traditional Japanese performing arts.