Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera Temple is open till late for a special light-up this autumn

See the iconic hill-top temple in a whole new light after sunset

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen
Staff Writer, Time Out Tokyo
Photo: Narongsak Nagadhana/DreamstimeKyoto's Kiyomizudera temple in autumn

A few times a year, the breathtaking 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 Buddhist temple, which is over 1,200 years old, is part of the Unesco World Heritage Site known collectively as the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.

The temple's seasonal light-up events occur every spring, summer and autumn. The annual autumn illumination in 2023 is scheduled to run from November 18 to November 30. While Kiyomizu-dera usually opens from 6am and closes at 6pm, it will extend its hours until 9.30pm (last entry 9pm) for the duration of the event, so visitors will have more time to appreciate the beauty of the temple and its scenery after dark. 

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. 

This article was originally published on September 22 2022 and updated on August 31 2023.

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