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