Kurama Fire FestivalVigorous Blazes Sparkling in Night Sky22 October 2013 - Tradition/Culture
Its blaze illuminating the night sky, the "Kurama Fire Festival" took place on the night of October 22 in the neighborhood around Yuki Shrine in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto. Men shouldering large torches valiantly enlivened the festival and flying sparks of fire shined brightly in the dark night.
It is one of the three major eccentric festivals in Kyoto and also an annual festival of Yuki Shrine. The festival is derived from a legend that villagers welcomed the enshrined deity by holding up torches when Yuki Shrine was transferred from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to Kurama in the year 940.
The sun sank behind the mountains. At 6:00 p.m., amid the echoing chant of "Jinji ni Mairasshare," or come to the shrine ritual, bonfires were lit in front of homes. As small torches got larger and larger, the festival heated up. Upon the signal shout of "Saireiya, Sairyo," men wearing traditional black loincloths paraded through the town with huge flickering torches.
At around 9:00 p.m., accompanied by drums and the sound of bells, the roaring torches came together in a crush around the stone steps leading up to Kurama-dera Temple, and the festival reached its climax. According to Kyoto Prefectural Police, there were approximately 6,000 spectators, and they were fascinated by the weaving blazes of the festival.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)