I visit my local jinja, Shirahata Hachiman Daijin, every day to pay my respects to the kami. Because of my work schedule, this normally happens in the morning. However, my favourite time to visit is in the evening, when it is just starting to get dark, but before the doors to the haiden (the prayer hall) are closed.
The lights in the haiden are on, and it is dark enough outside that they give the room a warm glow. Normally, there are lights on behind the bamboo blinds at the back of the haiden as well, at the entrance to the honden (the main sanctuary). The contrast between the light and the surrounding gloom makes the sanctuary feel separated from the everyday world, and gives it an air of mystery.
When I have the opportunity to visit at that time, I really enjoy paying my respects.
That does sound really lovely! Might you be able to take a photo of it one evening, to share with us?!
Alas, I really don’t think it would photograph well. It’s more about the atmosphere when I’m standing there, and not so much about how it looks from a distance.