After spending the day at Arashiyama, our buddy Mai took us back to central Kyoto to see the Kiyomizu Temple illuminated at night. These special night opening hours occur only a few times a year and, according to Mai, is something you must see in Japan. It was certainly spectacular under the almost-full moon.
From the viewing platform there is a stunning view of the autumn foliage down the mountain and all the way to the city. The tall spire is Kyoto Tower, which is right across from the central train station.
The queue for the best vantage point to take photos was massive, winding for about a hundred metres and with security guards ushering people along and making sure that everything stayed under control.
To reach the temple, 1200 years old and located halfway up Mt Otowa, was a reasonable hike up stone steps. It was very busy, people everywhere, tourists and local coming to visit or pray at the temple during these special night visiting hours. I imagine it would be a very peaceful place without the crowds but even so it was very beautiful, the trees lit by special spotlights to display the autumn leaves.