Arashiyama Hanatouro Illumination: A Bright Forest in Winter
I remember it was a one-degree night when my friends and I went to Arashiyama. It is uncommon to go to Arashiyama at night because the beautiful landscape is best enjoyed in daytime. But it was winter time and they held a light illumination. We were curious to see it, even a cold weather would not stop us!
As we arrived at Hankyu-Arashiyama Station, we were enchanted by the beauty of the station lighting. It was lighted in yellow, which makes it feels like an old station somewhere in Europe.
Moving out from the station, near to Katsura River there are lots of tent-lampions with paintings. Since it was very windy outside, people were trying to get inside the tent to get some warmth from the lamp. They also have some others lighting along the riverbank, which unfortunately I could not enjoy too long because it was very windy there.
Walking towards the river, we saw one of the main attractions: the Togetsukyo (moon-crossing) Bridge, lit up. The mountain, which previously in red at last autumn, is now in a gradation of blue, purple, and green. Meanwhile, the bridge is in yellow, which makes it a nice contrast to the mountain on the back. In addition, it was a full moon that night! It is as if the bridge wanted to show me that it really is a bridge that was built to cross the moon. Very beautiful.
Since we were starving and it was a very cold night, we decided to have a nice dinner before continuing our sightseeing. We end up at Seisyuan (清修庵), a restaurant near to Katsura riverbank. They serve various sets of udon, soba, and donburi in a quite affordable price. Oh, and they also provide yudofu, a famous hot, soft, and delicious tofu in Kyoto! My set was tempura-don with hot soba, plus a yudofu and pickles. A really nice meal to warm you up on a windy and freezing night.
After having enough food to warm us, we continued our walk. We went to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Unfortunately, we spent too much time in the restaurant that there were only 30 minutes left before the lights went out. Luckily we still got a chance to enjoy the lights along the groove path. Although at the end of the path, I ended up taking a picture of half-lighted bamboos, because I ran out of time.
Most of the bamboo are lighted in a bright yellowish light, but there was also a spot where they have three colors of light highlighting the bamboos with blue, orange, and green.
Despite the crowds of tourists, Arashiyama illumination is gloriously beautiful. It is worth to visit, but make sure your stomach is warm enough before enjoying the scenery!