Kyoto’s fiery mountain festival, known as the Kurama Fire Festival, is a highly anticipated event that takes place in the mountainous village of Kurama. This festival is held annually on October 22nd and is dedicated to honoring the Yuki-jinja Shrine and its spirits. It has become one of Kyoto’s most popular fire festivals, attracting both locals and tourists alike.
The Kurama Fire Festival is known for its spectacular parade, which features hundreds of people carrying flaming torches. This creates a truly majestic sight as the procession winds its way through the streets of the village. The festival is a reenactment of a ceremony that the local villagers held in the past to welcome the kami spirits of the shrine to the village.
To witness this incredible event, visitors can easily access the festival venue by train from Kyoto Station. From Kyoto Station, one can take the JR Nara Line to Tofukuji Station and then transfer to the Keihan Line bound for Demachiyanagi Station. From there, visitors can transfer to the Eizan Kurama Line and get off at Kurama Station. The festival takes place on the streets just outside the station, so it is advisable to arrive early to secure a good viewing spot.
The Kurama Fire Festival holds great significance for the local community and is considered a family affair. Originally, the event was exclusively for boys, but over time, girls have also started to participate due to the shrinking population of the village. The festival serves as a rite of passage for the youth, with children leading the procession and teenagers following behind them. The men of the village play a central role in the parade, carrying huge torches that contribute to the fiery spectacle.
During the festival, all participants don traditional garb, including sandals, loincloths, and braided rope skirts tied around the waist. They also wear a padded cloth over one shoulder to cushion the torch. Some village men even carry mikoshi portable shrines, showcasing their strength as these shrines are incredibly heavy.
One of the highlights of the Kurama Fire Festival is the creation of a massive bonfire. The torches used in the parade are piled on top of each other to form a towering inferno. The festivities begin at sunset and continue until midnight, providing ample time for visitors to soak in the vibrant atmosphere and witness the mesmerizing flames.
The Kurama Fire Festival is deeply rooted in history and tradition, dating back to the early Heian period. Yuki-jinja Shrine was originally located elsewhere but was moved to Kurama during a time of war. The festival serves as a way to honor the shrine and its spirits while also paying homage to the past.
In addition to the cultural significance, the Kurama Fire Festival also offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the unique atmosphere of Kyoto. The city is renowned for its rich history, traditional architecture, and picturesque landscapes. Attending the festival provides a firsthand experience of the local customs and traditions that have been preserved over centuries.
As with many events and gatherings, it is essential to note that the information provided may be subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is advisable to stay updated with the latest guidelines and regulations before planning a trip to the Kurama Fire Festival.
Overall, the Kurama Fire Festival is an awe-inspiring event that showcases the beauty of Kyoto’s cultural heritage. With its vibrant parade, towering bonfire, and traditional costumes, it offers a truly immersive experience for both locals and visitors. By attending the festival, one can not only witness the rich traditions of the region but also create lasting memories of this remarkable celebration.
Address And Maps Location:
1073 Kuramahon-machi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu