I’m writing about the annual autumn foliage light-up event at Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto. In 2014, its theme was Wagasa, and it was extremely beautiful with special presentation and effects.

The theme of autumn light-up event at Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto is Wagasa, Japanese umbrellas

Hi, I’m KOKORO MOYOU, a regular Kyoto reporter.

Today, I’m introducing the autumn light-up event at Kodaiji Temple, located in Higashiyama-ku in Kyoto City.

I visited there and took some photos on November 12th, 2014.

What is Kodaiji Temple?

After the death of Shogun Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1598, his wife Nene built this temple to mourn the loss of her husband. Toyotomi Hideyoshi was born as the son of a peasant and yet rose to become a ruler to unify Japan. This was during the period when samurai had many conflicts over territorial disputes within Japan. He is one of the popular shogun in history of Japan, and his wife Nene is also known as a good wife and wise mother, being the great supporter of Hideyoshi long before his success.

These days, Kodaiji Temple is also well known for its light-up presentation at nighttime. There are many sightseeing spots within the temple ground, such as Garyuike Pond, Japanese gardens, bamboo grove and teahouses. On top of the beauty of those places, in spring and autumn, the temple hold the illumination events, lighting up the spring cherry blossoms and the autumn foliage. People admire the lit up sights and they are apparently breathtaking.

The illumination at Garyuike Pond

The first one is the regular annual illumination for autumn foliage around Garyuike Pond.

You can see some redness in the trees, but I think it was a little too early.

The reflection of the lit up leaves is so beautiful.

This is Garyu-rou, a long hallway and stairs.

The Wagasa illumination inside Kasatei and Shiguretei

Please have a look at the picture of Kasatei first.

Kasatei, built in Momoyama Period in the 16th century, is one of the teahouses in Kodaiji Temple. It is designated as Japan’s important cultural property.

It doesn't have a regular ceiling, but the name Kasatei originates from its shape similar to an opened Karakasa (oil-paper umbrella) when you look up.

Red and blue Wagasa are impressively illuminated.

This is Shiguretei. It’s linked by a roofed walkway with Kasatei.

The Wagasa illumination of the bamboo grove of Kodaiji Temple

Among the bamboo grove, I spot illuminated Wagasa. Red, white, purple...they were colorful.

Underneath the bamboo grove, you’ll see dragons. They seem more solemn with the lighting, don’t they? These dragons used to lie in Hojo Teien Garden.

These are some exhibited items within Hojo main hall. Photographing is permitted in here.

The Wagasa illumination in Hojo Teien Garden

As I expected, the garden was also lit up.

In the stone garden, the characters of ‘心’ (mind) and ‘波’ (waves) were written in Kanji on the stone surface.

The lighting changes every few seconds. There are 26 patterns altogether and they complete in 3’41’’ in rotation.

It has a lovely atmosphere. Personally, I thought the illuination was great with awesome effects.

So, how was it? It was extremely beautiful and artistic.

This Wagasa themed illumination is on between the end of October and the beginning of December. A great number of visitors are expected for this event at Kodaiji Temple, so you might need to be prepared to wait in line for it.

During this season in Kyoto, there are many temples hold various interesting and clever illuminations, so check out other articles on other light-up events.

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