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Gozan no Okuribi

What is Gozan no Okuribi

Every year there is an event calls “Gozan no Okuribi”. This is one of the four major events of Kyoto. The event is burn the five mountains with the figure.

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And the event has historical and religious meanings.
The August 16th of every year, the first mountain start to burn the figure prepared on mountain at 20 0’clock. The secondary mountain starts 20:10, after that 20:15, the next one kindle at the same time 20:15, the last one starts to burn at 20:20. These five mountains burns and prey for the ancestor’s soul will spend with calm.


The origin of “Gozan no Okuribi” is not clear. If you see other pages of our site will notice this is really rare case that there is no specific year is not appears on any record.
The event can be translated as “the All Soul’s Day” in English. Something is similar as the event is Mexican, “Dia de los Muertos”. It says the Gozan no Okuribi event started after Muromachi period (1336-1573).

There is a written diary of an aristocrat’s says 16th of July of old traditional calendar which is 16th of August, he went out to see Gozan no Okuribi in 1603 A.D. The number of the mountain figure was ten at that time. The numbers of the figures light up the night sky was reluctantly reduced to five instead of ten after 1868 little by little.
In the beginning of the modernization of the country after 1868 A.D. to catch up to the advanced nations at that time, the government made a decision to stop the Gozan no Okuribi event as a kind of superstition. After the time Gozan no Okuribi event resumed but the trend of Japan was disdained traditional cultures. It was not possible to get official support to continue the event and it became only five mountains remained. The actual event is protected by the government and local preservation society to succeed the historical and cultural event in the future as Kyoto’s tradition and at the same time an important Japanese traditional cultural event.

kyoto Gozan no Okuribi Ship

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