The Kurama Fire Festival is held on October 22 of the year. The place is in Yuki Shrine and the surrounding area, but honestly, there is not enough space to see. On top of that, it may be held on Sundays and it can be quite crowded, so be careful.
The festival itself is held in the morning, but the torture with the torches that are the highlight of the festival is from 18:00, the dedication of Kagura torch is around 24:00, and the shrine return of mikoshi (portable shrine) will be around 2 o’clock.
Tracing the origin of the Kurama fire festival dates back to 940 and the Heian period. In Kurama, located in the northern part of Heiankyo (ancient capital name of Kyoto), there were frequent earthquakes and conflicts at that time.
As a result, anxiety is spreading among the people, and in order to subdue it, and as the guardian of the northern part of the city, Yuki Myojin (referred to as Yuki Shrine), which was beaten on the inside and outside, will be transferred to Kurama. It was carried out at the suggestion of the emperor. At that time, there was a line of transitional palaces, and the people said that they lit a bonfire and greeted them on the wall that was growing along the Kamogawa River.
This is the origin of the Kurama Fire Festival, which has since been held as an annual festival at Yuki Shrine.
To Yuki Shrine, get off at Kurama Station on the Hiei Electric Railway Kurama Line and walk for about 10 minutes. Hiei Electric Railway seems to have increased the number of transportations on the day of the festival every year, but there still seems to be a considerable number of passengers. Also, the festival itself will be held until midnight, but be aware that the last train of Hiei Electric Railway is earlier than that.
The highlight of Kurama’s Fire Festival is a ritual that begins at 18:00, but at Yuki Shrine there is a ceremony to pray for the festival to be held safely and magnificently from 9:00.
If you want to visit Yuki Shrine before visiting the shrine from 18:00, you should come around in the morning.
From 18:00, “Visit shinto rituals”, the sign of the beginning of the ritual, triggered a fire in the firewood that had been stacked in each house, and a small torch ignited.
Adults will join a large torch, and they will go to a place called a “nakama” while calling out “Saireisairyou”.
Around 20 o’clock, each nakama starts torch to the Kuramadera Temple gate, and when it gathers, the taiko is signaled and the rope is cut, and the torch is burnt down at one place under the stone steps.
After “Shimenawa” (a sacred straw festoon in Shinto) is cut, two mikoshi descend the shrine from the shrine and travel around the district to “Otabisho”. At this time, the woman pulls the rope so that the speed does not go too fast down the approach, and the man on the front carrying rod hangs upside down in a saddle.
In addition, there are many young women who pull the rope, and it seems that there is a benefit of safe delivery when doing this.
When two mikoshi arrived at “Otabisho”, Kagura dedication was held and Shinko-sai of Kurama Fire Festival ended, and around 2 o’clock the next two mikoshi returned from “Otabisho” to Yuki Shrine , “Kanko-sai” ends and the Yuki Shrine annual festival ends at the same time.
Kurama Fire Festival is the annual festival of Yuki-jinja Shrine in Kurama, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City. Every year, it will be held on the evening of 22nd the same as “Jidaimatsuri Festival” in Kyoto. The “Kurama Fire Festival” is counted as one of Kyoto’s three main strange festivals with Ushi-matsuri (Ox Festival) and “Yasurai Matsuri Festival”. It is also counted as the Kyoto Three Great Fire Festival, together with Gozan no Okuribi (Mountain Bonfire), “Otaimatsu” (means “Shuni-e (Omizutori, Water-Drawing Festival)”).
Although Yuki-jinja Shrine was deified originally in the Imperial Palace of Kyoto, then it was transferred to Kurama located in the north of the Imperial Palace in order to calm a succession of natural disasters and wish for peace. During the case of the relocation of the sacred Palace, it is said that the queue with torches, divine tools, etc. became a line of about 1 kilometer in length. It was the “Kurama Fire Festival” that the inhabitants of Kurama who was deeply moved by this procession tells that Yuki-jinja ‘s miraculous virtue and ceremony will be left behind in later generations.
The highlight of the Kurama Fire Festival is the Mikoshi (portable shrine) parades of the shrine in the flame of bonfire. From around 18 o’clock the torch will be ignited with the shouting “Shinji ni mairasshare!” (Visit the Shinto Ritual!). And, while walking around the colony, they leave for Otabijo (temporary shrine) called “Nakama” (comrade). They are going to walk with the call “Saireiya, Sairyo!” (It means “Rites and Festivals”).
The large torch will be moved to the front of the mountain gate of Kurama Temple around 20 o’clock. It is probably the most interesting aspect that as many as 200 torches fascinate is front of the mountain gate. After that, the Mikoshi walks inside the colony and is settled in the Otabijo. There seems to be a lot of young women participating as there is a legend that it will become an easy delivery when you pull this rope of Mikoshi.
The “Kurama Fire Festival” is the festival held only one day, but many people visit in the past year. The most recommended viewing spot is the approach to Kurama Temple. However, it seems that it is necessary to take place for hours beforehand because it is also an interview place for the media and others. In restaurants and souvenir shops in the approaching path, there seems to be the shop that makes the second floor a charge viewing seat.
|Name:||Kurama Fire Festival|
|Address:||Kuramahonmachi 1073 Kyoto Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 601-1111 Japan|
|Access:||Eizandentetsu Kurama-sen Line “Kurama-eki Station” (11 minutes walk)|