There are a countless number of shrines and temples in Japan, and each has its own history and significance. The Kiyomizu Temple (Kiyomizu-Dera) is a landmark temple in Kyoto that you may already know of. It attracts thousands of locals and tourists due to its spectacular location, history, and sense of grandiosity!
One interesting thing about the Kiyomizu Temple that you may not know, is the appearance of a blue light from the temple during certain seasons. Read on to find out why this mysterious blue light appears above one of the most important temples in Kyoto, and when you can visit the temple to see this fascinating spectacle!
The Kiyomizu Temple is one of the most widely recognized structures in Kyoto and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Its foundations date back to as early as the 8th century A.D.
Your visit to Kyoto is not complete without visiting the Kiyomizu Temple and the Golden Pavilion, which both look spectacular from any viewpoint and in every season. However, during the spring the Kiyomizu temple becomes surrounded with beautiful cherry blossoms, and in the autumn with red leaves. This glorious color makes the place all the more enchanting!
These special seasons attract a lot of visitors to the temple, to take in the beautiful natural colors. Adding to the natural hue of this place, there is also a lighting event that you have the chance to see for a few days starting in mid-November this autumn. The night skies above the temple area will see a beautiful blue light, like a beacon pointing to the heavens. It’s going to be an awesome sight!
Awe inspiring Ryozen Kannon in Kyoto. pic.twitter.com/1t6S6WgQrJ
— Judy Shertzer (@soupsister) December 30, 2015
The Japanese religions of Shintoism and Buddhism are in many ways similar to that of the religions of Christianity or Islam when it comes to the concept of heaven and hell. Indeed, most religions have ideas on this concept. The Kiyomizu Temple sets up a bright blue illumination three times a year to symbolize the blessings of Kiyomizu’s adorned deity Kannon.
You can see this blue light projected in a western direction, which shines over the mesmerizing city of Kyoto from the Kiyomizu Temple on Mt. Otowa. Kannon, also known as Guanyin is the goddess of mercy who has an important place in various sects of Buddhism across different parts of Asia, from Sri Lanka to Japan.
There are some great monuments in the world dedicated to the Goddess Kannon, including the very famous Shaolin Temple in China, Sensoji Temple in Japan, Ajanta Caves in India, and many others. You may be surprised to know that most of her temples are actually world heritage sites, including the Kiyomizu Temple which is a great place of worship with a fascinating history.
In Kyoto, you can actually visit many different shrines and temples in the city to see them lit up with bright colors, especially during the Koyo (autumn leaves) and Sakura (cherry blossom) seasons. During the summer months, you can also see fireworks and wonderful dance festivals all across the city!
The illumination event at Kiyomizu Temple happens three times in 2017. The first one was over several days between March and early April, and the second one occurred for a brief amount of time between August 14 and 16.
The third one will take place between November 11 and December 3, 2017. The whole temple and the streets paving the way towards it will be adorned with lights, thus making the whole place look utterly beautiful and captivating.
These magical blue illuminations are sure to capture everyone’s heart when they begin in mid-November. If you missed the short illumination event between August 14-16, there is no need to worry as the autumn in Kyoto is going to showcase its enticing illuminations for a longer period of time.
Do not miss the opportunity to visit the gorgeous city of Kyoto and its enchanting temple mentioned above, to capture some amazing views you would not likely see elsewhere. Enjoy your time admiring the evening skies this autumn walking the streets of Kyoto!