By a happy coincidence, our trip to Kyoto in mid-March coincided with the Higashiyama Hanatouro (東山花灯路) night-time illuminations where thousands of lanterns light the historic streets and many of the temples and shrines open till late.
We spent a couple of hours wandering the stone-clad streets and narrow alleyways, wondering what lay behind the closed doors and softly illuminated windows of the exclusive Higashiyama District.
The highlight of the evening was visiting Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) temple which lies in the foothills of Mount Otowa and has a wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside. People used to jump from the stage believing that if they survived, their wishes would be granted! 85% survived.
Although I had visited the area before during the daytime, the night illuminations added a whole new dimension to the experience and were very atmospheric.