Kurama no Hi-Matsuri
The evening sky becomes ablaze with the flames of huge watch fires and 250 pine torches
This festival held at Yuki-jinja Shrine reproduces the scene of receiving the deity in Kurama. At 6 o'clock in the evening, watch fires called kagaribi are ignited all at once in front of the houses, and people holding up small and large taimatsu (pine torches) parade all night long announcing in loud voices the arrival of the festival. The Kurama Fire Festival is known as one of the three most eccentric festivals of Kyoto, together with the Yasurai Matsuri at Imamiya-jinja Shrine (second Sunday of April) and the Ushi Matsuri (Bull Festival) at Koryuiji Temple (currently suspended).
The main features of this festival are the 3-meter tall watch fires placed here and there along the streets, and the pine torches which total more than 250. Children carrying small pine torches are followed by grown-ups holding huge pine torches which weigh more than 80 kg each. At 8 o'clock in the evening, people gather at the gateway of Kurama-dera Temple and pay a visit of worship to the Yuki Shrine. Later, 2 mikoshi (portable shrines) carried on the shoulders of youths are paraded through the town streets, bringing the festival to its climax. Every year, the festival ends a little past midnight.
Moreover, the buildings of Yuki-jinja Shrine, where this festival is staged, are structures representative of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1573-1598), and a sugi (Japanese cedar) tree about 800 years old stands in the precincts of the shrine. As it is located in an area blessed with beautiful natural landscapes, it is an ideal place for viewing the autumnal tints in early November or cherry blossoms in the sakura season in early April (though the best timing for these seasonal views varies slightly from year to year).
[Rail]Yuki-jinja Shrine can be reached on foot from Kurama Station.Kurama Station is about 30 minutes from Demachi-Yanagi Station on the Eizan Dentetsu Kurama Line.Demachi-Yanagi Station is about 15 minutes from JR Kyoto Station.
Place: Yuki-jinja Shrine and the town of Kurama
Dates: October 22nd(held even in rain)
City: 1073, Kurama-Honmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture