It was already past 7pm when our Kintetsu express train arrived at Kyoto Station from Nara. We decided to check out the Kyoto Ramen Koji (Kyoto Ramen Street) on the 10th floor of the station for a quick dinner. We took the escalators up to the famous Daikaidan (Grand Staircase). The Daikaidan stretched from 4th floor all the way up to the sky garden on the 15th floor. Architect Hiroshi Hara specifically provided a stage on the 4th floor, while the staircase would become an enormous amphitheater. There was no performance when we were there. Instead, the stage was occupied by a large Christmas Tree. The lights changed colours according to the background music.
The big Christmas Tree occupied the open space on the 4th floor.
From the Christmas Tree we walked up the Daikaidan (Grand Staircase) to the 10th floor for our ramen dinner.
There was a strip of LED lights at the nosing of each step. The lights changed colours constantly.
With the LED lights on each step, the entire staircase became a giant screen of festive animations.
We entered the building on the 10th floor, and could immediately smell the pork ramen and feel the warmth of the atmosphere. Here at Kyoto Ramen Koji (Kyoto Ramen Street), there were about ten different ramen restaurants, representing the ramen style from different parts of Japan. We ended up picking Masutani (ますたに), a Kyoto based ramen restaurant established since 1948.
We queued in front of the restaurant for about 20 minutes and then ordered our ramen from the machine by the entrance.
Once inside, we handed the tickets to the staff and sat down by a wooden counter.
After several minutes, our hot and delicious ramen arrived, a perfect answer for the chilly night!
After the tasty ramen, we didn’t want to go back to the hotel yet. In front of Kyoto Station, we hopped on a night bus bounded westwards. Our destination was the ROHM Illumination Festival 2016. With 800,000 light bulbs lighting up 82 trees along Kasuga Dori, ROHM Illumination is the biggest annual Christmas lighting event in Kyoto since 1995. ROHM, a Japanese semiconductor manufacturer based in Kyoto sponsored the event annually to light up the immediate area of its office in town. The light show was smaller than similar events in other large cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, it did however transform a tranquil neighborhood into a romantic, glittering and festive promenade of lights.
The entrance of Kasuga Dori was guarded by the two Yamamomo Trees (Chinese bayberry) covered with dazzling lights.
The Yamamomo Trees were round in shape, perfect for turning into spheres of lights.
Kasuga Dori was lined both sides with 20 metasequoias, all dressed up with tiny light bulbs to create the luminous promenade.
With the lighting, the yellow crowns of the metasequoias appeared as if on fire.
Two types of light bulbs were used, small LED and twinkling incandescent lights.
The lights transformed the small Nagura Park into a romantic public venue.
Families and kids were having fun in Nagura Park.
Under different music, the LED balls on the ground and the 13.5m (h) by 9m LED screen made use the lawn next to the Nagura Park to put together the “Ensemble of Light”.
Kids had a good time at the playground and the light show.
Antique cars somehow blended in well with the ambience of the light festival.
At 9:30pm, we turned back to the entrance of Kasuga Dori and had a final look at the two for the trip’s last day.
Our posts on 2016 Kyoto and Nara:
OUR FIRST KYOTO STORY, Japan
DAY 1: ARRIVAL AT HIGASHIYAMA (東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: RYOANJI TEMPLE (龍安寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: NINNAJI TEMPLE (仁和寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: KINKAKUJI TEMPLE (金閣寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: KITANO TENMANGU SHRINE (北野天満宮), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: NIGHT AT KIYOMIZU-DERA (清水寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: MORNING STROLL IN SOUTHERN HIGASHIYAMA (東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: KIYOMIZU DERA (清水寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: KIYOMIZU DERA to KENNINJI, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: ○△□ and Chouontei Garden and Ceiling of Twin Dragons, KENNINJI TEMPLE (建仁寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: SFERA BUILDING (スフェラ・ビル), SHIRKAWA GION (祇園白川), KAMO RIVER (鴨川) & DOWNTOWN, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: YAKITORI HITOMI (炭焼創彩鳥家 人見), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: MORNING IN NORTHERN HIGASHIYAMA (北東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: NANZENJI (南禅寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: PHILOSOPHER’S PATH (哲学の道), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: HONENIN (法然院), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: GINKAKUJI (銀閣寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: CRAB AND SAKE, Kyoto, Japan
DAY 4: HORYUJI (法隆寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: TODAIJI TEMPLE (東大寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: KASUGA TAISHA (春日大社), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: KOFUKUJI (興福寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: NAKAGAWA MASASHICHI SHOTEN (中川政七商店 遊中川), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: RAMEN & CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 5: FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE (伏見稲荷大社) Part 1, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 5: FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE (伏見稲荷大社) Part 2, Kyoto, Japan
DAY 5: FAREWELL KYOTO, Kyoto, Japan