We have enjoyed the one held in March on the eastern side of Kyoto many times. However, we had never been to one held in December in Arashiyama, the opposite side of Kyoto. Not until last weekend, that is. To be honest, my expectations weren't all that high. My favorite part of Arashiyama is the temples but most of them would be closed in the evening so...
Well, I should have known better. It was fantastic! We had to be creative to avoid the worst of the crowds but it was certainly worth the effort. The bamboo forest was much more dramatic than I expected and the various illumination installations and ikebana arrangements along the route were quite beautiful.
Perhaps my favorite part of the evening was visiting Hogonin Temple. The temple grounds were lit up and the the fall foliage was spectacular. I have wandered through this area multiple times but had no idea the temple was even there. I will most certainly be back.
You are always full of surprises.
Arashiyama Hantouro Illumination Homepage: http://www.hanatouro.jp/e/arashiyama/
Top Photo: Hogonin Temple grounds
Bottom Photo: An ikebana arrangement on the way to the temple