Hi,I’m Keiko from Osaka!
Higashiyama Hanatouro is held between early to mid-March every year and it is known for the seasonal feature to announce the arrival of early spring in Japan.
Hanatouro means “flower’s light path” in Japanese.
About 2500 lanterns illuminate the 5km path from Shoren-in Temple to Kiyomizu Temple.
It was my first time to see Hanatouro in Kyoto, and it was totally beyond my expectations.
I would like to share with you my experience of Higashiyama Hanatouro so that you can fully enjoy it!
Local Guide:Higashiyama Hanatouro in Kyoto 2017!Must-see Temples and Events
The lit up temples,shrines and parkFirst of all, I would like to tell you the lit up temples,shrines and park.
I think you’ll be exhausted if you visit all of these places only for one day;)
If you don’t have enough time to visit all these temples, I highly recommend to visit the following four temples.
You should definitely not miss these temples!
Four Must-see TemplesThese Four temples below are the Must-see temples especially during Higashiyama Hanatouro period.
- Shoren-in・・・The grounds are lit up by blue lights which create a mysterious atmosphere at night. It’s the most beautiful illumination I’ve ever seen in Kyoto.
- Chion-in・・・There is illumination shows called “Projection Mapping” which reflects upon the surface of the Sanmon Gate of Chion-in.You can enjoy spectacular illumination view at there
- Hokan-ji(Yasaka Pagoda)・・・Hokanji is the symbol of the Higashiyama Hanatouro. Hanatouro lit up old wooden houses and stone-paved street which create the rich and elegant atmosphere.
There are food stands, pottery and antique shops along the street.It’s really fun to look around these shops seeing beautiful illuminations.
- Kiyomizu temple・・・ Kiyomizu temple is beautiful during the day time but it looks even more beautiful at night when they light-up by illumination.
Next let’s check out three major events of Hanatouro!
Three Must-See Events of Hanatouro
1.Maiko danceMaiko will perform the traditional dance for the dedication to God at Yasaka Shrine.
I heard some of the foreign tourists called them “Geisha”, but geisha and Maiko are slightly different.
Geisha are professional entertainer trained in traditional Japanese singing,dancing and music for banquets.
Whereas Maiko are young women under 20 years old and they are apprentice geisha.So the Maiko who I saw at Yasaka shrine looked very young.
I rarely see Maiko in Kyoto, so I was excited to see real Maiko in front of my eyes!
I enjoyed watching beautiful Maiko dance for a while.
Dates:4th March(Sat):Gion Koubu, 5th March(Sun):Moyagawa-cho, 10th March(Fri):Ponto-cho,11th March(Sat):kamishichiken,12th March(sun)Gion-higashi
Time:（1）6 PM （2）7:10 PM (3)7:40 PM（Third a day,rain or shine）
※ only 11th March:6:30 PM
Place：(1) Yasaka Shrine Maidono,(2)(3)Kiyomizu-temple Sakuhana Stage
2.Fox Wedding ProcessionOne of the most unique event of Hanatouro is the Fox Wedding Procession.
The bride with white for mask who is wearing shiromuku is riding on a rickshaw. Shiromuku is a traditional pure white silk kimono in Japan.
It start from Chion-in and ends at Kodai-ji.
It is said seeing Fox wedding is a sign of good luck!
It was very mysterious for me to see this fox wedding procession.
Dates:From 3rd March to 12th March, 2017
Time:（1）7 PM （2）8 PM（Twice a day,rain or shine）
Place:Chion-in Sanmon→Maruyama Park→Chourakukan→Maruyama Obngakudo→Entokuin→Shunkoin→Kodai-ji Minamigawa Turo→Kodai-ji Tenmangu →Kodai-ji
3.Ikebana PromenadeTen large flower arrangements are displayed on the street around Higashiyama district.
You can enjoy gorgeous Ikebana work lit by soft dimmed lights.
In the early stage: 3rd March -7th March, 2017
In the late stage: 8th March -12th March, 2017
In Maruyama Park,flower arrangement competition is held. Sixteen works of beautiful Ikebana are displayed there.
Dates: 3rd March -12th March, 2017
Next let’s check out the best route of Hanatouro!
Higashiyama Hanatouro best walking routeYou might wonder which route you should start from,Shoren-in temple in the north or Kiyomizu temple in the south?
Both of the routes have their pros and cons.
But if you are visiting Higashiyama Hanatouro for the first time, I recommend you to start from Kiyomizu temple in the south.
There are two reasons why I recommend you to start from Kiyomizu-temple.
1.Kiyomizu-temple is getting more crowded as time goes by
Most tourists start from Shoren-in Temple in the north since it is conveniently located close to the Higashiyama station or Kawaramachi station.
Therefore it’s very crowded with tourists at Shoren-in around illumination starting time(6 PM)
Kiyomizu-temple is crowded all the time but it is getting more crowded as time goes by because it’s final destination for most tourists.
2.It’s tough to go up the steep alleys at Kiyomizu-dera
There are narrow and steep alleys called Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka around Kiyomizu-temple, and it’s really tough to go up these alleys if you get tired.
Kiyomzu-temple is a must-see temple,so it’s better to visit before you get tired.
So I recommend you to start from Kiyomizu temple in the south to all the way to Shoren-in in the north.
The best route of Hanatouro is:
Kiyomizu-temple→Hokan-ji→Kodai-ji→Yasaka Shrine→Maruyama Park→Chion-in→Shoren-in
Kiyomizu-temple located far from station.On the other hand, Shoren-in is close to the station, so its easy to go home!
Higashiyama Hanatouro in Kyoto,2017 InformationLocation:Higashiyama district in Kyoto
Phone: 075-212-8173 （Mon-Fri10:00～18:00）
Dates: From 3rd March to 12th March, 2017
Illumination Hours :18:00～21:30(Rain or Shine)
Kiyomizu Temple InformationAddress: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Location:20 minutes walk from Keihan Kiyomizu Gojo Station exit 4,The taxi ride from JR Kyoto Station is approximately 15 minutes,30 minutes walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station.
Opening hours during Hanatouro period:6:00〜21:00,
Admission fee:Adults: 400 yen,Junior High and Elementary School Students:200yen
I hope you enjoy the beautiful illumination of Hanatouro!
Click here for related information:
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