Special Night Viewing at Chion-in Temple takes place twice a year, in spring and autumn
Chion-in is a Pure Land Buddhism temple in Kyoto’s Higashiyama area, and every year, in spring and autumn, they hold a special night viewing event. In spring the special night viewing is held at the same time as the famous Higashiyama Hanatoro event, where the whole area of Higashiyama is lit up by lanterns, and the one in autumn in November when the autumn leaves are at their best. During this event the garden well known as one of the most beautiful of the Showa period, Yuzenen Garden, and the huge Sanmon Gate are illuminated by LED lights, enveloping the temple with a mysterious aura. Also, during this event you also have a chance to hear about the temple and Buddhism from the priests of the temple. The atmosphere at the temple is very different between night and day, so remember to add this temple to your Kyoto itinerary!
Yuzenen Garden’s illumination
This garden is known as one of the best of the Showa period, and it was made to celebrate the 300 year anniversary of the founder of the kimono dying technique yuzen, Miyazaki Yuzen (1654-1736). Every year during the special night viewing, the garden that combines two Japanese garden styles, stroll pond garden and rock garden, is illuminated in a striking fashion.
You can also enjoy the illumination of the autumn leaves during the autumn special night viewing. The Yuzenen Garden is known as a great place to view autumn leaves, and the way you get to see the leaves reflected in the pond is a mysterious experience.
See the beautiful autumn leaves at Onna-zaka
There are two routes you can take from the Sanmon Gate to the temple; Onna-zaka and Otoko-zaka, Women’s Hill and Men’s Hill respectively. Onna-zaka has a milder inclination, whereas Otoko-zaka is steep (During the illumination event you can only walk through Onna-zaka). Onna-zaka is lined with maple trees on both sides, so you can view beautiful, illuminated autumn leaves all the way to the temple.
Listen to a Buddhist priest
At the Buddhist Hall, Hobutsuden, you can listen to a priest explaining about Buddhism and the temple. You get to learn a lot about things you don’t normally know about, and after the sermon, you can experience hitting a wooden gong and reciting Buddhist sutras. (The sermon is only in Japanese.)
4.0 experience3.5 access4.0 photogenic4.5
Chion-in Temple Special Night Viewing / 知恩院夜間拝観
|Address||400 Rinka-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City 605-8686|
|Directions||Take Kyoto City Bus #206 from Kyoto Station and get off at Chionin-mae bus stop, or take the subway Tozai line to Higashiyama Station, from where it is an 8-minute walk to the temple.|
|Event time||Spring: 6:00-9:30 p.m. (Entrance until 9 p.m.) Autumn: 5:30-9:30 p.m. (Entrance until 9 p.m.)|
|Cancellations||Not canceled in case of rain.|
Adults, including high school students: 800 yen, elementary and middle school students: 400 yen.
|Credit cards||Not accepted.|
You can enjoy this event by just looking, and the temple is also easy to get to.
|Information||Japanese and English.|
|Lanuages spoken||Only Japanese.|