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Friday, October 25, 2013

Kyoto Kurama Fire Festival 2013

Kyoto Kuruma Fire Festival勇壮な炎、夜空きらめく 鞍馬の火祭

The annual Kurama Fire Festival took place on October 22.

In a village in the mountains in the far north of Kyoto is the village of the same name, the festival takes place every year on the 22nd of October.

It is held at Yuki Jinja Shrine in the village of Kurama, and is thought to reenact the scene of receiving a deity that had travelled from the Imperial Palace to the village.

At 6 pm, fires are lit in front of the local houses. These "kagaribi" are lit; then people with small and large pine torches parade through the town.

The Kurama Fire Festival is one of the three "most eccentric festivals" of Kyoto. The other two are Yasurai Matsuri at Imamiya Jinja Shrine (on the second Sunday of April), and the Ushi Matsuri (Bull Festival) at Koryuiji Temple (which is currently suspended).

The highlight of the festival is the more than 250 three-meter tall pine torches. Like other festivals, there are portable shrines that are carried through the town.

For those cycling, it is possible to get into the town if one arrives prior to roughly 3 pm. At that point, the police close off the road.

By about 6 pm, cycling will be impossible due to the crowds. Moreover, the road is not reopened until after the festival, which means waiting until the wee hours of morning for the return ride.

At other times of the year, Kurama is a good ride.

Photo © Kyoto Shinbun


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