The temples and forests of Nara are beautiful in the day time, but when illuminated at night, they take on a mystical atmosphere. From moody lantern-lit strolls to vibrant fireworks displays, there’s something happening every season to light up your night.
illuminated by 3,000 lanterns
On February 3, Kasugataisha Shrine is illuminated by 3,000 lanterns for the Setsubun Lantern Festival, which has run annually for about 800 years. There is another chance to see it, from August 14 - 15. With no electric lighting to be seen, the scene is breathtaking.
the perfect place for a romantic stroll
Every February in the week running up to Valentine’s Day, Nara Park becomes the perfect place for a romantic stroll. During this time, Nara National Museum, Todaiji Temple and Kasugataisha Shrine are lit up beautifully from 6pm to 9pm each night.
at night the cherry blossoms look even more beautiful
People flock to see them during the day, but at night the cherry blossoms look even more beautiful, when they are lit up. Many locals dress in kimonos to stroll among the trees, adding to the atmosphere.
clear rivers are famous for summer fireflies
It's rare to see fireflies these days, as they need very clean water and just the right weather to appear. You have a good chance down in Totsukawa, where the clear rivers are famous for summer fireflies from mid June. In Nara Park, Todaiji Temple hosts firefly nights through June.
- The original night lights; seeing fireflies is an unforgettable summer experience.
get into the summer spirit
You can see fireworks all over Nara in late July and early August. Head down to Dorogawa Onsen for the clearest skies, or to the Yoshinogawa river at Gojo. Ohmiwa Jinja Shrine is a good spot to see the fireworks in Sakurai. You can dress like the locals in cotton yukata to get into the summer spirit.
spectacular coloured foliage
Autumn brings spectacular coloured foliage, and the leaf viewing doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. At famous autumn spots like Murouji Temple and Kinpusen-ji Temple in Yoshino, the trees are lit up and snack stalls set up to feed the crowds.
- Beautiful by day, when lit up at night, the autumn leaves are magical.
More Related Reading
10 related lists & stories
Updated: May 22 2019
Top Things to Do in Nara This Summer
First Time in Nara: The Essential Don't Miss List
Now & Zen: 5 Cool Spaces to See Now
Experience True Japanese Hospitality: 5 Fantastic Ryokan
Unplug & Escape
A Weekend in Yoshino
Sleepless in Nara
Updated: Feb 16 2018