Aug. 08, 2019 UPDATE

Daikaku-ji Temple: Special nighttime illumination “Shinku no Mizukagami”

- 大覚寺夜間拝観 -
PeriodNovember 8 to December 1, 2019
VenueDaikaku-ji Temple and the area around Osawa-no-ike Pond.
Enjoy the red leaves of autumn reflected in the surface of the pond during Daikaku-ji Temple’s special nighttime illumination event
Daikaku-ji is a temple in the Saga-Arashiyama area. Daikaku-ji Temple is well known as a great place to view autumn leaves, and every year during this period when the maple leaves turn into vivid hues of red and green, there is a special nighttime illumination called “Shinku no Mizukagami” held at the temple. The oldest man-made pond in Japan, Osawa-no-ike, and the smaller Hojochi Pond next to it, both reflect the maple trees planted next to them, and this reflection and the illuminated historic buildings make the atmosphere feel mysterious. This nighttime illumination event is called “Shinku no Mizukagami,” meaning deep crimson reflections on water, and like you can probably guess from its name, you get to see the absolutely beautiful crimson colors of the leaves reflected in the clear Osawa-no-ike pond. The chance to see this gorgeous view at the around 1200-year-old temple comes only ones a year, so I hope you will take the time to go see it.
Illumination of Hojochi Pond
Illumination of Hojochi Pond
Hojochi Pond is right by Osawa-no-ike Pond. Behind the pond, you can see the dignified Shingyohoto Pagoda. The sight of the maple leaves and Shingyohoto reflected in the water is something that can rightly be said to be “Shinku no Mizukagami,” a crimson reflection.
Illumination of Osawa-no-ike Pond
Illumination of Osawa-no-ike Pond
There are many trees planted by Osawa-no-ike Pond like cherry trees and maples, and these are illuminated in a subtle and elegant way during the event. If the weather is nice and there are no clouds you can also see the moon.
Walk on the path of autumn leaves
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Walk on the path of autumn leaves
There is a path that goes by Osawa-no-ike Pond that is lined on both sides by maple trees called the path of autumn leaves. The beautiful path which almost resembles a tunnel is beautiful both during the day and at night when it is illuminated.
4.2 experience4.5 access3.0 photogenic5.0
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
4.2 experience4.5 access3.0 photogenic5.0
Daikaku-ji Temple was first constructed as the villa of the Heian period (794-1185) Emperor Saga. This is why at the temple you can see remnants of the elegant court culture everywhere, starting with Osawa-no-ike Pond. If the temple is normally elegant, then during this illumination event it becomes even more elegant. The sight of the maple leaves and Shingyohoto Pagoda being illuminated, surrounded by darkness, can be concisely said to just be stunning. The temple is a bit far from the closest train station, but this is a sight many people go to see every year; it’s worth it.
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Daikaku-ji Temple: Special nighttime illumination “Shinku no Mizukagami” / 大覚寺夜間拝観
Phone +81 75-871-0071
Address 4 Sagaosawa-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City 616-8411
Directions A 17-minute walk from JR Saga-Arashiyama Station or you can take Kyoto City Bus #74 or #81 and get off at Daikakuji bus stop.
Event time 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. *If you go to the temple during daytime you cannot use that ticket to enter the special illumination, you will need to buy another one.
Cancellations -
Price range
500 yen
Credit cards Not accepted.
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
The temple is a bit far from the closest station, but it is one of the best places to see autumn leaves in Kyoto. Many visitors from overseas also go to the temple to see the autumn foliage.
Information Japanese, and a simple page in English.
Lanuages spoken Only Japanese.
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