Burning Characters into the Mountains – Daimonji

I had the opportunity to witness Daimonji yesterday with some friends. We all met on a friend’s balcony in Sanjyo. Pretty spectacular view!

The wikipedia entry on Daimonji, officially called gozan no okuribito, does a better job of explaning the event than I could ever attempt. So read it.

At the most basic level daimonji is entertaining because there are five giant bonfires lit in the mountains… on a deeper level, it is an ancient ritual that marks the end of Obon, sending dead ancestors back to the spirit world.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a zoom lens on me, (actually I don’t own one…) so these photos were all taken with a 35mm. Still I was pretty close huh?

There are some better pictures on of Daimonji on Wikipedia here.

Had a ton of fun!

Daimonji 2012

  • Daimonji in Kyoto. Giant bonfires in the mountains to end Obon festival. More info here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gozan_no_Okuribi
  • Daimonji in Kyoto. Giant bonfires in the mountains to end Obon festival. More info here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gozan_no_Okuribi
  • Daimonji in Kyoto. Giant bonfires in the mountains to end Obon festival. More info here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gozan_no_Okuribi
  • Daimonji in Kyoto. Giant bonfires in the mountains to end Obon festival. More info here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gozan_no_Okuribi

Gion Matsuri 2012

Gion Matsuri is here again! I have been a few times before, in 2004 and in 2005 it seems from my old blog entries… quite some time ago…

Gion Matsuri is a multi-day event. This time I went for Yoiyama. During Yoiyama the floats are all lit up and line the streets of Kyoto. The streets were blocked for vehicle traffic… but the human traffic was insane!

Here is an explanation from KyotoGuide.com.

14th-16th: Yoiyama

On the three nights before the grand parade, the festival’s energy reaches its peak. The streets with people looking at the lit up Yama & Hoko floats. Gion Bayashi music fills the air, and countless stalls are set up along the colorfully decorated streets.

Here are some photos! There are a few days of Gion Festival left, so if you’re in the area see if you can check it out!

Gion Matsuri 2012

  • harvey's photo
  • harvey's photo
  • One of the floats, "Hoko," for Gion matsuri in Kyoto.
  • One of the floats, "Hoko," for Gion matsuri in Kyoto.
  • harvey's photo
  • harvey's photo
  • One of the floats, "Hoko," for Gion matsuri in Kyoto.
  • One of the floats, "Hoko," for Gion matsuri in Kyoto.
  • Thousands of people. Streets closed to vehicle traffic for the festival.
  • A pretty typical Japanese couple heading to the festival. The guy's fan has a picture of one of the Gion Festival floats.
  • Gion Matsuri in Kyoto Japan
  • Gion Matsuri in Kyoto Japan
  • Gion Matsuri in Kyoto Japan
  • Gion Matsuri in Kyoto Japan
  • Gion Matsuri in Kyoto Japan

Related Links:
Gion Festival Prep 2004
Gion Matsuri 2005