The Third GOZAN NO OKURIBI (Great Bonfire) to Me

In the evening of August 16th, I enjoyed the view of GOZAN NO OKURIBI (Great Bonfire)* from the roof terrace of our my apartment for the third time since I came to Kyoto.

The first bonfire to me was two years ago. I went to TOGETSU bridge in ARASHIYAMA district, and saw the "TORII**" shaped bonfire lit on Mt. SAGA-MANDARAYAMA, as well as TORONAGASHI*** (Lantern Float) ceremony. Harmonized with the voices of sutra by monks, a lot of shimmering lanterns were sent down on the river surface, and at the far end of my sight, HIDARI-DAIMONJI Bonfire was gleaming just like an lantern.

As for the TORII shaped bonfire, I recommend to visit HIROSAWA pond if you want a really good view. I say this because I was able to see only a part of it from the TOGETSU bridge.

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Last year on August 16th, we had a blinding rain. It was literally bucketing down so that I was able to see only white smoke far away in the mist. I felt as if my summer was ending without any concrete closure.

* * *

So, this year, I decided to go up to the roof terrace of my apartment to get a nice view in a very relaxing and chill-out manner. Together with folks in my neighborhood, I saw this year’s first bonfire, “DAIMONJI” in the east, as well as "FUNAGATA (ship shaped)" and "HIDARI-DAIMONJI" far across the night sky.

That was just breathtaking and I guess I accomplished the goal for this summer!

*GOZAN NO OKURIBI (Great Bonfire): More commonly known as DAIMONJI, and is a festival in Kyoto, Japan. It is the culmination of the OBON festival on August 16, in which five giant bonfires are lit on mountains surrounding the city. It signifies the moment when the spirits of deceased family members, who are said to visit this world during Obon, are believed to be returning to the spirit world—thus the name Okuribi (send off fire).

**TORII: A traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the profane to sacred.

***TORONAGASHI: a Japanese ceremony in which participants float paper lanterns down a river. TORO is a word for "lantern," while NAGASHI means "cruise" or "flow." This activity is traditionally performed on the final evening of the Bon Festival in the belief that it will help to guide the souls of the departed to the spirit world.

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