One of the reasons why every travel website out there will tell you that November is one of the best months to be in Kyoto is that, throughout that month, a lot of temples in Kyoto organize beautiful, otherworldly
(lol, that word choice) fall night illuminations, where they extend their opening hours until after sunset and light up part of the temple and temple garden. Today I want to talk about one of those illuminations I visited with some of my friends in early November: the Shoren-In Fall Night Illumination.
Remember my blog post about Chion-In? Shoren-In is essentially right next to it. I took another google maps screenshot to illustrate.
I’m loving these screenshots, as you can see.
The temple is only a twenty-minute-walk away from Sanjo Keihan Station at Sanjo Bridge, and also pretty easily and quickly accessible from Maruyama Park, Yasaka Shrine and Gion. To enter the temple, we had to pay 800 yen, which at first might seem quite expensive – but trust me, it was totally worth every single yen.
There was a set route visitors had to follow (like with many popular temples in Kyoto), which first took us past a huge garden area that was covered in countless tiny blue lights which made it look like a starry sky.
Excuse the poor photo quality in this post – forgot to bring my camera, so I had to take all the photos with my
shitty smartphone camera
Then, after getting a first look at the garden, we were able to enter the temple building and take a closer look at the rooms. Then, after exploring the inside, we followed the route and stepped outside again into a different part of the garden.
The moon was really pretty that night, too.
After walking through the garden for a bit, we eventually got to a flight of steps that led up to a beautifully illuminated bamboo forest.
And that was essentially it. The shortness of this post makes it seem like the whole event was really short, too, but trust me, it’s my fault it seems that way, because I didn’t take pictures of everything – for example, there was a lot to see inside the temple building, but because my friends and I wanted to enjoy everything to the fullest, we didn’t take as many pictures there. So yeah, the actual illumination took a lot longer than this post makes it seem. But I still hope that I was able to give you some sort of impression of what to expect at such a fall illumination event, and maybe even made one or two of you want to go to one in the future. A lot of temples in Kyoto, not just Shoren-In, organize this kind of illuminations, so there are a lot of options.
Anyway, that’s it for this very short post. Hasta la vista, see you nextos timos.