Photo/IllutrationVisitors to Kiyomizudera temple in Kyoto on March 24 view a test run of a special illumination event to begin from the following night. (Yoshiko Sato)

  • Photo/Illustraion

KYOTO--The magnificent Kiyomizudera temple here is bathed in nightly illuminations through April 9, although visitors could be forgiven for thinking they were gazing at a building site.

The main hall balcony of the famed World Heritage site that was founded in the eighth century is now draped in scaffolding covers while it undergoes renovations.

A light check March 24 offered an entirely different glimpse of the structure and the natural beauty of its surroundings that visitors are normally used to.

The temple grounds are carpeted by 1,000 or so cherry trees soon to blossom that are illuminated at night by 500 lights of different sizes.

Temple officials said early April would be the best time to view the cherry blossoms.

The lights will be turned on from 6 p.m. Visitors will be able to walk around the temple grounds until 9 p.m.

Those who enter during the day will be able to stay on to view the special night illumination, unlike last year when visitors had to leave before re-entering to view the spectacle.

Admission is 400 yen ($3.60) for adults and 200 yen for elementary and junior high school students.

For more information, visit the temple's website (