Summer in Kyoto, after big Gion Festival, we will have another special and important festival, not in the day time, but at night!
This is called, "Gozan no Okuribi"
In the evening of August 16th, large bonfires are lit on five of Kyoto's surrounding mountains.
At that night you see the burning letters appear to float in the sky.
This is a Buddhist event held on the last day of O-bon.
"O-bon" is the four-day from 13th to 16th of Aug. In these days, families usually go back to their parent's house to have the time together to welcome back the spirits of their ancestors, hold memorial services for them, and see ancestor's spirits off to the Under World.
Each Kanji is lit one by one in order from the east to the west from around eight in the evening.
Some of the strokes in these Kanji are more than 100 meters long!
"Myo", Lotus Sutra
"Torii", Shrine gate
Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to enjoy the five mountains view at once, but you can try one of them from these good view area. From the access, most recommendable area is below.
* around Demachi-Yanagi Station (Keihan-line)
- at Kamo O-Hashi Bridge or along the Kamo Gawa River
* In the Kyoto Imperial Palace
- It's crowded but it's huge area, so very recommendable to enjoy the view.
Another special night festival on this day will be held at Arashiyama Koen Park, too.
Floating Lantern Festival
- It's held every year from sunset to 9pm. Very romantic view.
the Gozan Okuribi is called one of the four great events of Kyoto. The Okuribi are also believed to protect against evils. In addition, drinking water whose surface reflected the light of the Gozan no Okuribi is believed to prevent paralysis.
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