These Pictures Will Show You Kyoto in a Beautifully Different Light

Hanatoro Path of Lights and Flowers | © Kyoto Hanatouro
Hanatoro Path of Lights and Flowers | © Kyoto Hanatouro
Photo of John Asano
27 October 2017

Hanatoro, which means path of lights and flowers, is one of Kyoto’s most spectacular illumination events. It is held in the Higashiyama district in March and the Arashiyama district in December. The streets of these historic districts are illuminated in the evening by thousands of lanterns to create a magical atmosphere of light that is not to be missed.

Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatoro

Held in the historic Higashiyama temple area of Kyoto in March, the ancient streets are lined with more than 2,400 lanterns that run from Shoren-in Temple all the way to Kyoto’s most celebrated temple, Kiyomizu-dera. Most of the famous temples and shrines in the area are illuminated and have extended opening hours. In 2017, the event runs from Friday, March 3 to Sunday March 12 with the illumination hours from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm.

Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatoro | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

The UNESCO World Heritage Kiyomizu-dera Temple illuminated at night is a spectacular sight.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Shoren-in Temple

Shoren-in Temple is magically illuminated at night with the bamboo forest and Japanese garden particularly stunning.

Shoren-in Temple | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Ikebana Promenade

Large flower arrangements are displayed at 10 locations along the path of lights and flowers in collaboration with the Kyoto Ikebana Association.

Ikebana Promenade | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Contemporary Ikebana exhibits

Maruyama Park is the setting for an exhibition of 16 magnificent flower arrangement displays.

Contemporary Ikebana Exhibits | © Kyoto Hanatouro

A river of bamboo lanterns

Around a thousand touro lights made of young bamboo are placed on the Yoshimizu Stream running through Maruyama Park, creating a magical atmosphere.

A River of Bamboo Lanterns | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Maiko (Apprentice Geisha) Dance

Apprentice Geisha, called Maiko perform a traditional dedication dance at the Kagura Stage at Yasaka Shrine in Gion.

Traditional performance by Maiko | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Hanabutai Stage at Kodaiji Temple Park

Daily live music, dance and traditional performances can be enjoyed at Kodaiji Temple Park.

Kodaiji Temple Park | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Maruyama Park

Street performances take place in front of the large weeping cherry tree (shidare-zakura) in Maruyama Park.

Shidare-zakura at Maruyama Park | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Various light sculptures and installations on display at Maruyama Park.

Light Sculptures and Installations at Maruyama Park | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatoro

Held in the scenic sightseeing district of Arashiyama on the western outskirts of Kyoto City in December. Many temples and shrines in the area, as well as the historic streets around the town center and along the river, are illuminated by lanterns for 10 days.

Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatoro | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Flower Arrangement Promenade

Gorgeous flower arrangement pieces are placed on display along the path of lights and flowers in collaboration with the Kyoto Ikebana Association.

Flower Arrangement Promenade | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Togetsukyo Bridge illumination

One of the most spectacular illuminations is at the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge (Moon Crossing Bridge) near the town center.

Mooning Crossing Bridge | © Kyoto Hanatouro

Bamboo Forest illumination

The famous bamboo forest located behind Tenryu-ji Temple is illuminated with lanterns adding to the already magical experience of the location.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest | © Kyoto Hanatouro

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