Kiyomizudera Temple (at Night)

Kiyomizudera at Night @ Kyoto, Japan

Kiyomizudera Temple hosts a special illumination event during the autumn leaf season (mid- to late November), which just so happened to coincide with our visit!

When we stepped off the train in Kyoto, it was freezing and of course I was not adequately dressed for the weather so we needed to find something warm for me to wear– fast. Enter Yodobashi Camera.

You wouldn’t think it from the name, but Yodobashi Camera has literally everything from toys to cameras to appliances to apparel. And it’s also right across the street from the JR Kyoto station, in the shadow of Kyoto Tower.

Outfitted with a new UNIQLO hoodie that was warm, comfortable as all hell and cheap ($15 USD!) we ventured forth to rediscover Kiyomizudera Temple.

Kiyomizudera at Night @ Kyoto, Japan
We didn’t really know what to expect in regards to the “special illumination” that was to take place, but it makes itself obvious as soon as you enter the temple grounds. Not only is the place open past 5 PM, but all the temple buildings and much of the foliage is illuminated to complement each other’s palettes.

Kiyomizudera at Night @ Kyoto, Japan
Jesus was this place crowded. At the point where everybody tries to get the headline picture of Kyoto Tower in the distance with Kiyomizudera on the right like that one shot Trey Ratcliffe took that everybody steals, the crowds were so densely packed that nobody could move– despite the fact that attendants with bullhorns were trying to prod the crowds along.

Kiyomizudera at Night @ Kyoto, Japan
Man it was cold. On the walk down the hill, we passed a few noodle shops that didn’t even have standing room available. This place was absolutely packed.

Kiyomizudera at Night @ Kyoto, Japan
Once we were done, we weren’t really sure what to do. We walked down the main hill outside Kiyomizudera and just kept walking.

And walking.

And walking.

And walking.

It was becoming like a marathon session of Lord of the Rings.

Kiyomizudera at Night @ Kyoto, Japan
After stopping more than once for treats and drinks we eventually found Mordor a subway line and assumed we would just take that back to the JR station. Turns out it was a bit more of a pain in the ass than we thought to do the transfer (the signs in English were atrociously confusing), so after heading the wrong direction and doubling back, we left the train and hailed a taxi. Seems to be our default survival mechanism around these parts.

Johnny

Pro-family and anti-drug, when he's not too busy living with four beautiful ladies, he likes long walks on the beach and poking dead things with sticks.

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