Arashiyama Hanatôro 嵐山 花灯路
A beautiful winter garden
Roads filled with flowers and light...This is the meaning of the term Hanatouro. The festival, which is held for ten days in December, plunges the Arashiyama district into a dreamlike atmosphere.
The place has been prized for its beauty since the Heian period (794-1185). Connoisseurs flock there for the hanami, the admiration of the cherry blossoms, and to witness the conflagration of its wooded mountains in November during the koyo.
Ceramic and paper lanterns enhance the night landscape. The Togetsukyo bridge, the emblem of the place, becomes incandescent. On the opposite bank of the Katsura river, gigantic hydrangeas bloom on the mountainside thanks to illuminations that plunge the forest into mauve and bluish hues.
Exhibitions of ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arrangement, and numerous street concerts line the route. The melodies of the shakuhachi, the traditional bamboo flutes, accompany the footsteps of the visitors. The white light of the lanterns transfigures the bamboo forest into a soft green cathedral. Many stalls offer delicious foods to evening walkers. You can't resist mitarashi dango, those round rice cake skewers topped with sweet soy sauce when handed to you with a beaming smile!
See also: Take ikebana lessons in Japan
Address, timetable & access
TimetableJR Sanin or Sagano lines, Saga Arashiyama station.
AccessDuring 10 days in December, from 5 pm to 8:30 pm.