Tuesday, November 25, 2008


basic information
The entrance to Kiyomizudera illuminated during the Higashiyama Hanatoro

Hanatoro, which means "flower and light road", is a set of illumination events that take place in the Higashiyama district of Kyoto in March and the Arashiyama district of Kyoto in December. During Hanatoro the streets are illuminated by thousands of lanterns set throughout popular areas combined with flower and light displays.

Many temples and shrines are illuminated and have special extended viewing hours. In addition, live and street performances are held at stages around the area. The pleasant and unique atmosphere of Hanatoro attracts many visitors who can stroll the streets and see a different side of Kyoto.

Higashiyama Hanatoro:

Yasaka Pagoda

The next Higashiyama Hanatoro will be held March 13 to 22, 2009.

During the March Hanatoro the streets of Kyoto's historic Higashiyama district are lined by more than 2400 lanterns that stretch from Shorenin all the way to Kiyomizudera. Nearly all of the popular temples and shrines in the district are illuminated and have extended opening hours.

The Hanabutai stage is set up in Kodaiji Temple Park where daily live music, dance and performances are held. Additionally, performance areas in front of the large central weeping cherry tree (shidarezakura) in Maruyama Park and Kiyomizudera are set aside for street performances.

Many shops also have extended opening hours during Hanatoro, and in combination with the illumination events makes for a pleasant evening atmosphere which attracts many people to the area during a time of the day when it is usually rather deserted.

People strolling around Higashiyama
Lit up shops and streets

Arashiyama Hanatoro:

Togetsukyo Bridge illumination during the Arashiyama Hanatoro

The next Arashiyama Hanatoro will be held December 12 to 21, 2008.

Arashiyama is a pleasant district on the outskirts of Kyoto that holds its Hanatoro every December. For ten days, more than five kilometers of streets around the town center and along the river are lit up by lanterns. Many temples and shrines, such as Daikakuji, are illuminated and have special extended hours.

Of the most spectacular attractions are the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge spanning the river and the bamboo forest behind Tenryuji Temple. Both are illuminated during Hanatoro with the Togetsukyo Bridge being particularly beautiful as it is lit up along with the surrounding mountainsides.

Illuminated bamboo forest
People strolling along the river

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