Daimonji Festival in Kyoto

Gozan Okuri-bi (more popularly known as Daimonji) is one of the four major traditional events in the city of Kyoto. During this special summer festival giant bonfires in the shape of kanji characters light up on five mountains surrounding the city of Kyoto.

Daimonji happens on August 16th, to signal the end of a traditional holiday called Obon. During Obon Japanese go to the graves of their ancestors and pray. Those with an altar at home will prepare a special offering including special brightly coloured cakes.

Obon okashi

The five mountains that surround the city of Kyoto play a big part in this event. Each of the mountains has a kanji character carved on it and wood is set along the characters and then set on fire on August 16th. The first fire (Migi Dai 大) starts at 8pm in the east and then the other characters are set on fire every five minutes.

east daimonji JLPT N5 Vocabulary and Kanji wall chart

To see a video of this kanji burning go here

Five and ten minutes later the (妙 myo)o2nd and 3rd (法 ho)characters are set on fire in the north.

myou hou daimonji JLPT N5 Vocabulary and Kanji wall chart

Following these two, at 8:15pm (舟形 Funa-gata) character is lit up on the mountain in the northwest of the city.

fune daimonji 2 JLPT N5 Vocabulary and Kanji wall chart

 

At the same time (8:15pm) the (大 dai) character known as hidari daimonji which is located in the west of the city is set on fire in the northwest.
left daimonji JLPT N5 Vocabulary and Kanji wall chart

Finally, to end the night (とり形 torii-gata) character in the west of the city is set on fire at 20:20.

No matter where you are in the city, you are sure to see one of these amazing kanjis burning beautifully in the summer night sky.

Have you ever been to the Daimonji festival?

If you have never been, would you like to go?

Leave your comments below.

Confused About How to Pass the JLPT ?
Sign up for our Free guide to learn how.

Tags: ,

Facebook Comments:

Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

JLPT Wall Charts

N5 Wall Chart

N4 Wall Chart `