From mid-March to early May each year Kodaiji stages beautiful illuminations at night, beginning after sunset and running until 2130. There are two impressive gardens at this temple. The first is a rock garden, which is a large area of raked gravel. Here there were two projections that looked like kaleidoscopes. They were awesome; people sat there, quietly, watching the changing images for a long time before moving on to see the rest of the grounds. In addition, different parts of the garden were lit up at various times, including a gorgeous weeping cherry tree. The second garden consists of a pond, hills, trees, etc. and is the site of a memorial, which is a beautiful building with a covered bridge leading up to it. While it was pretty at night, it probably would be even better to see it during the day. Further into the temple grounds there is a small bamboo grove, where each stalk is lit up.
Going to an illumination is a truly magical experience. The crowds are smaller, the temple grounds quieter, and the lights draw your attention to the beauty of the season. (Kodaiji and several other Kyoto temples also do illuminations in autumn.)
Admission to the Kodaiji illumination is 600 yen per person, which includes entrance to the nearby Kodaiji Sho Museum.
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