Oct. 09, 2019 UPDATE
Kyoto's World Heritage Level Autumn Leaves – What’s Your Plans? 2019 Kyoto Autumn Feature
Part 3

Kyoto Autumn Light-up Events

In this part, we’re going to showcase an autumn staple in Kyoto, “Light-up Events.”
Autumns in Japan have become synonymous with the beautiful foliage of, primarily, Japanese maple. However, unlike the sights enjoyed during the day, these autumn light-up events bring out an enchanted, magical side of the trees that’s entirely unique to the night. Because of this, these events are popular with not only Japanese people, but those visiting from overseas as well.
Kyoto plays host to a large number of these events; however, this part will be dedicated to our most highly recommended ones.
Below, information regarding the events themselves, as well as the best times to go will be included. So don’t forget to take a look!
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of the most famous places in Kyoto. During autumn, the area around the famous Kiyomizu-dera stage, three-storied pagoda, and pond is set ablaze by the warm colors of the autumn leaves, wrapping the temple in a natural beauty seemingly not of this world.

As this is one of the most popular places in Kyoto, the light-up event is sure to draw a crowd. Although it will shorten the time you can be there, we recommend getting to the temple slightly before the event closes. If you go on a weekday between the end of November and the start of December, when the event is beginning to wrap up, it will likely be not too busy.

Event Period: November 16 (Sat) – December 1 (Sun)
Event Times: 17:30 – 21:00 (reception closes)
Admission fee: Adult: 400 yen, Elementary and junior high school students: 200 yen
Best time: late November to early December
Kōdai-ji Temple
Kōdai-ji Temple
Kōdai-ji Temple is most famous for being the place where the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Nene, lived out the final years of her life. The best parts of the Kōdai-ji Temple light-up event are the two ponds, Garyuchi and Engetsuchi. The lit-up leaves reflect off the water like a mirror and fill the garden with the magnificent sight of their brilliant fall colors!

During peak season, if you enter the temple past 8 PM, it will be relatively empty.

Event Period: October 25 (Fri) – December 15 (Sun)
Event Times: 17:00 – 21:30
Admission fee: Adult: 600 yen, junior high school students: 250 yen, Elementary school students and below: free
Combined Discount Ticket: admission to Kōdai-ji Temple, Kodaiji Sho Museum and Entoku-in Temple: 900 yen (recommended)
Best time: late November to early December
Chion-in Temple
Chion-in Temple
Home to a large number of “Important Cultural Properties,” including the national treasure designated Sanmon gate and Honden main hall, Chion-in Temple sees a considerable amount of visitors come in autumn to catch the temple’s impressive fall foliage. The high light of Chion-in Temple’s light-up event is the Yuzen-en Garden. The garden becomes wrapped in a truly enchanting atmosphere that quiets the mind and soothes the soul.

This light-up event is usually incredibly busy, so we recommend going at around 5 PM on a weeknight.

Event Period: November 2 (Sat) – December 2 (Mon)
Event Times: 17: 30 – 21:30
Admission fee: Adult: 800 yen, junior high school and elementary school students: 400 yen
Best time: mid-November to early December
Kibune Momiji Toro – Maple Lanterns
Kibune Momiji Toro – Maple Lanterns
Between the Ichihara Station and Ninose Station stretches an approx.. 250m long of road. In autumn, both sides of this road come alive with the bright colors of the fall foliage and the stretch itself has been deemed the “tunnel of maples.” From the window of your train you can glimpse this beautiful sprawling scene of maples. During the light-up event, the atmosphere in this area changes and becomes nearly otherworldly.

The Kibune Momiji Toro light-up event should definitely be on your list of places to check out during autumn in Kyoto.

Event Period: November 2 (Sat) – November 24 (Sun)
Event Times: Sunset – around 21:00 (the Kibune area is open until 20:30)
Best time: mid-November onward
Will you be checking out any of these spots for yourself? If you do, the absolutely stunning sights are sure to knock you off your feet! Although autumn nights can get a little chilly, the ability to experience the enchanting and eerie atmosphere and wander through the brilliant fall colors of these autumn light-up events makes it totally worth it!
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