As mentioned in Event Calender in Kyoto: March, there is a huge annual illumination event in Kyoto, more specifically in the Higashiyama region.
It is called Hanatoro, and it never disappoints visitors.
Hanatoro consists of several different events including the illumination, flower arrangement displays (Maruyama Park), projection mapping (Chionin) and Maiko/Geiko (Geisha) dance (Yasaka Shrine: at 18:30, 19:00 and 19:30 on 15th, 16th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd) and more.
Higashiyama Area has many sightseeing spots such as Kiyomizudera Temple, Yasaka Shrine, and Maruyama Park. However usually there it is not worth visiting this area at night, because every spot closes at 16 – 17 PM. However, while Hanatoro is held, from March 14th – 23rd, this area becomes the best night spot.
In addition to the above mentioned events, Kiyomizudera Temple (400 yen), Shorenin Temple (800 yen), Chionin Temple (1000 yen, but projection mapping is free), Yasaka Shrine (Free), Entokuin (500 yen), and Kodaiji Temple (600 yen) will hold their own illumination events at their premises, mostly from 6 – 9 PM. It will take a lot of money to see all of them, so it is advised to stick one of them and enjoy the annual illumination event.
The best way to enjoy this event is: go to Kiyomizudera Temple (15 minutes walk from Kiyomizu Gojo Staton (Keihan Line’s LOCAL)), then walk north following the lights through Sanneizaka Slope. Along the way, Kodaiji, Entokuen, Maruyama Park (& Yasaka Shrine), Chionin then Syorenin Temple can be seen or visited. Take Subway Tozai Line from Higashiyama Station to go back to the hotel. It’s a long path, so it is better to split into two visits if staying in Kyoto more than two days.
For more useful and fun information which can not be found on normal guidebooks, please check our Kyoto e-Guidebook on Amazon.