Oct. 31, 2022 UPDATE

The 3 absolute must-go night cherry blossom illumination events in Kyoto!

Erika tells you about the three night cherry blossom events in Kyoto she likes the best!
To-ji Temple illumination event

The flower most people associate with Kyoto has to be cherry blossoms, and while they are pretty at day, you can’t leave out viewing them at night. The cherry blossoms illuminated at night look mysterious in their own right but combined with the temples of Kyoto, the scenery makes you feel a deeper appreciation of this ancient capital. In this article, you will find three favorite events of Sharing Kyoto writer Erika!

1To-ji Temple illumination eventTo-ji Temple illumination event

When it comes to night illuminations in Kyoto, the illumination of To-ji Temple and its cherry blossoms is one of the most famous. The “collaboration” between the Five-storied Pagoda and the cherry blossoms is why a great many people go to the temple every year.

Five-storied Pagoda

The gold of the Five-storied Pagoda glistening in the lights among the cherry blossoms is something so picturesque it has to be seen.

cherry tree

This 130-year-old weeping cherry tree of To-ji Temple also gets illuminated in soft light. The temple is close from Kyoto Station, so it’s easy to access and so, of course, gets my recommendation.

Event time : From the latter half of March to the middle part of April.

Address 1, Kujocho, Minami-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 601-8473
Open Hours March 20th - April 17th : 5am - 5pm April 18th - September 19th : 5am - 6pm September 20th - March 19th : 5am - 4:30pm

2Nijo Castle’s night cherry blossom illumination

At the World Heritage Site of Nijo Castle they hold night illumination events every year during the cherry blossoms season, but when we went there in 2017, they had some new attractions like 3D projection mapping shows.

Nijo Castle

In the projection mapping at the Karamon Gate, the petals of cherry blossoms were dancing a mysterious dance.

The projection mapping show

The projection mapping show in the garden used the Japanese musical drama of “Noh” as inspiration, and the quiet story quite different from the one at the Karamon Gate was something you couldn’t stop watching.

50 types of cherry trees

The highlight of the illumination event at Nijo Castle has to be the variety: there are 50 types of cherry trees and around 400 trees in total at the castle. I’m sure the illumination will become an unforgettable memory. 

Event time : From the end of March to the middle part of April.

Address 541, Nijojo-cho, Nijo-dori Horikawa Nishi iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8301
Open Hours 8:45am - 4pm (the castle closes at 5pm) *Ninomaru Palace viewing hours: 9am - 4pm 【July・August】 8am - 5pm(the castle closes at 6pm) 【September】 8am - 4pm(the castle closes at 5pm)

3Rokkaku-do Temple’s night illumination event

Rokkaku-do Temple

This temple, known as the birthplace of ikebana, is located in the middle of the office towers of Karasuma in Kyoto. In April 2017, they had a special event where the main hall of the temple, the cherry trees, and the ikebana flowers exhibited at the temple were illuminated at night.

cherry blossoms

The thing that makes Rokkaku-do stand out among all the other temples is the contrast between the cherry blossoms and the office towers in the background. The cityscape and the historic temple look surprisingly good together.

dove fortune slip

At Rokkaku-do Temple you can get a cute dove fortune slip, but during the cherry blossom illumination, you can also get a special pink dove. How about getting one as a memento of the cherry blossoms?

Event time : From the end of March to the beginning of April.

Erika[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
At Kyoto, the capital of a thousand years, you get to see the night cherry blossoms and historic sites like temples together, making the experience quintessentially Japanese. The cherry blossoms at night are a representation of “Wa,” the Japanese spirit, and as such are something you have to see.
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