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[2018 Edition] Five Recommended Winter Illumination Spots in Kyoto

Kyoto, the city of tradition, also has many spots to enjoy beautiful illuminations. Why not go out into the clear and cool Kyoto night to enjoy the shining lights? This article introduces some of the top illumination spots in Kyoto.

1. Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro 2018

Bamboo forests are beautiful in the daytime, but they are quite spectacular when lit up in the evening! The bamboos that seem to grow straight up into the sky are lit up from below, so they appear even taller than they are. The lighting also brings out the green of the bamboos that contrast with the darkness of the night.
Once you've walked through the path in the bamboo forest, take a stroll to Togetsukyo Bridge. The bridge, lit up from the river's surface, and the foot of the mountain combine to create a mystical scene that makes you ponder on the mystery of nature.

Schedule: December 8 (Sat) - December 17 (Mon)

1. Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro 2018

Arashiyama, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

2. Around Rohm Headquarters

With approximately 860,000 lights, this is the largest illumination show in Kyoto City. The spheres at the front of the photo are actually 10m tall wax myrtle trees! The lights on the wax myrtle trees, which are said to represent "dedication" and "wholeheartedly loving one person", warm the hearts of those who see them. The rows of dawn redwood trees behind it create a romantic path with orange lights.
There are participatory events for families held at Nagura Park, located along the path, on weekends and public holidays.

Schedule: November 22 (Thu) - December 25 (Tue)

2. Around Rohm Headquarters

21 Saiin Mizosaki-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

3. Kyoto Botanical Gardens

At Kyoto Botanical Gardens, there are illuminations of plants to enjoy. The highlight is the 20m high trident maple tree that is lit up. The bluish-white trident maple reflected upside down in the pond nearby creates a mystical scene. This is such a great spot for photographs, it has been used as a set for a movie.
During the illumination season, the conservatory is open in the evenings, so be sure to stop by.

Schedule: December 15 (Sat) - December 25 (Tue)
Entrance fee: 200 JPY/adult, 150 JPY/high school student, Free/junior high school age and younger
(The Botanical Gardens closes at 5:00 pm and re-opens at 5:30 pm. If you have entered before 5:00 pm, you must leave and pay the entrance fee again to enter.)

3. Kyoto Botanical Gardens

Shimogamo Hangi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

4. Kyoto Station Building

There are illuminations to enjoy at Kyoto Station, which is the gateway to Kyoto. The 22m high Christmas tree in the shape of a Japanese fir in Muromachi-koji Square is a special annual attraction of Kyoto Station. Inside the station, there are approximately 130,000 decorative lights creating a festive, holiday feel. The large staircase at Muromachi-koji Square is another recommended spot. The 125-step staircase has illuminations that change in time to music.

Schedule: November 17 (Sat) - December 25 (Tue)

4. Kyoto Station Building

901 Higashi Shiokoji-cho, Karasuma-dori Shiokoji-sagaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

5. Joyo Comprehensive Athletic Park

This is an illumination event in Joyo City in southern Kyoto Prefecture, a little away from the center of Kyoto. The illuminations that have been donated by organizations, corporations, and groups are all unique illuminations that you will not find in a big city. They are positioned to take advantage of the hilly landscape of the large park, so walk around and enjoy them.
There are also many stalls selling food and other items, so you can enjoy the feel of a Japanese festival. Make sure to try what they have to offer, such as takoyaki (octopus dumplings), a Kansai region specialty.

Schedule: December 1 (Sat) - December 25 (Tue)

5. Joyo Comprehensive Athletic Park

1 Terada Okuyama, Joyo-shi, Kyoto

Winter nights in Kyoto can be bracing, but have a serenity that is different from the daytime. Take a hint from this article and go out to enjoy the Kyoto night bundled up in a warm coat!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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