Kiyozumi-dera
Photo: Narongsak Nagadhana/Dreamstime

Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera Temple is now open at night for a special autumn light-up

See the iconic hill-top temple in a whole new light this November

Emma Steen
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Emma Steen
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Three times a year, the iconic Kiyozumi-dera Temple that overlooks Kyoto city hosts special nighttime visits where the temple’s structures and surrounding foliage are illuminated for a mesmerising display. The autumn illumination is always a highly anticipated event as it happens when autumn foliage is at its peak, where trees are enkindled with a brilliant array of red and gold leaves.  

For this year’s autumn light-up, the temple will be open until 9.30pm (last entry 9pm) from November 18 to November 30. In the lead-up to the recently concluded Tokyo Olympic Games, the temple was covered in scaffolding for renovations, and the spring light-up earlier this year had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns. So this is an opportune moment to appreciate the ancient landmark, which is now over 1,200 years old. 

In addition to the illumination across the temple grounds and Jojuin garden, Kiyozumi-dera will also shine a bright blue beam into the night sky to symbolise the compassion of Kannon, the goddess of mercy enshrined at the temple. 

There is a general admission fee of ¥400 for adults and ¥200 for children. 

Keen to check out more temples after dark? Here are eight more temples and shrines in Kyoto that are hosting special nighttime illuminations for autumn starting next month. 

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