Illumination in Kyoto

May 15, 2017

by Haruka Onishi and Natsumi Hosono

It has become second nature to enjoy Christmas illumination every winter for Japanese people. How did this come about? According to one research (1), the origin of Christmas illumination dates back to the 16 century , when electricity still hadn’t been developed. In Germany, Martin Luther was impressed to see shining stars in the forest and tried to reproduce the beautiful scenery by decorating trees with candles. Afterward, Thomas Alva Edison started bulb illumination. He decorated his laboratory with incandescent light bulbs to advertise his invention. It is said that his decoration is the first bulb illumination in the world.

About 150 years ago, in the Meiji era, illumination came to Japan. Meijiya, the company that sold foreign goods at the time, started turning on illumination every night from December 15th until Christmas day. This event attracted public attention and people started flocking to see the flashy illumination every year. Now, we can see illumination all over Japan every winter. The warm light heals our heart and gives us a feeling of peace.

Then, we will give you some information about illumination in Kyoto that we recommend to you.

Gojo Street Illumination

Gojo street illumination

Gojo street illumination

The Gojo Street Illumination is put on by the ROHM company, a Japanese semiconductor maker. This display first appeared in 1995 as a contribution to society. It is usually held between November 25th to December 25th from 17:00~22:00 of every year. More than 80 trees are decorated with more than 80,000 light bulbs. The main point of interest in this illumination is a tree-lined road. It is free to see, and people like to go there with someone special.

Arashiyama Illumination

IMG_7084

Arashiyama illumination

The illumination display in Arashiyama is called Hanatouro. “Hana” means flower, “tou” means light, and “ro” means road. Its main concept is to color the nights of Kyoto with flowers and lights. This event has been held since 2005. This illumination is held from 17:00 to 20:30 in every year. About 2500 LED bulbs are used in this illumination. Moreover the road is decorated by a lot of flowers and it is beautiful. Moreover, the path through the bamboo forest is also lit up which expresses a sense of the Christmas season in Kyoto. Therefore we can enjoy walking down paths filled with a Japanese atmosphere.

Rurikei Hot Spring Illumination

Ruri Kei illumination

Ruri Kei illumination


The Rurikei Hot Spring illumination is called Illumiere. This term is a combination of ‘illumination’ in English and ‘limiere’ in French, which means ‘light’. They want to give peace and hope to people all over the world from Kyoto through this illumination. It has been held since 2012, from October 29th to April 9th after sunset to 21:30. However it costs a small fee of \1,000 per person. More than 100 thousand LDE bulbs are used, and it is very beautiful.

Joyo City Illumination

IMG_7085

Joyo City illumination

The Joyo City illumination is called TWINKLE JOYO and was started in 2002. This event is held from 17:30 to 21:30 in every year. It was originally held at a large park, but the illumination expanded to the city community center and shopping arcade, a sign of its growing progress. This year is the 15th anniversary, and the number of the bulbs is about 700,000. This display gathers illumination design ideas from various groups and companies. Volunteers decorate the illumination. During the display, a variety of events are held, such as the sale of special local products.

In conclusion, Kyoto has a lot of nice illumination spots, not only these illumination written in this article. However, most of these events in this season have been finished yet. If you have a chance to go to illumination next season, we recommend you go there with your someone special.

Getting There

Gojo Street Illumination

This illumination is located around Kasuga Gojo. Kasuga Street is the west of Kyoto station and Gojo Street is north of Kyoto station. If you are in Kyoto station, first you should take the JR Sagano Sanin Line (#33) and get off at the Tambaguchi station. It costs \140. Then you should take a bus (#32, #43 or #75) and get off at the Nishi-oji- Gojo bus stop. It costs \230. It takes about 10 minutes from Kyoto station to the bus stop.

Arashiyama Illumination

Take the JR Sagano Sanin Line (#33) to Saga Arashiyama station. It takes about 15 minutes and it costs \240. If you are near the Randen station, take the train to Arashiyama, which is the last station on the line.

Rurikei Hot Spring Illumination

Rurikei is in Nantan City, which is in the northwest of Kyoto Prefecture. It is quite far from Kyoto City. If you’d like to go to there, you should use a car. It takes more than 1 hour to get there from the city.

Joyo City Illumination

Take the JR Nara Line to Joyo station. It takes about 30 minutes and it costs \360. From there you should take the private bus – called Joyo SanSan Bus Primein – which takes about 10 minutes.

Reference

(1) http://weathernews.jp/s/topics/201611/250075/

https://sp.jorudan.co.jp/illumi/kyoto.html

Leave A Comment...

*