Thu, Oct
22

Kurama no Hi Matsuri

6:00pm – 11:00pm
Free

Bonfires, torches, shrines and gods are all out in the streets for this vibrant Kyoto festival. Taking place in Kurama, a small village north of Kyoto proper, the Kurama no Hi Matsuri is a cultural event rather than a big party, but it has energy to spare. It’s in the evening of the same day as another major Kyoto festival, Jidai Matsuri, so you can get a two-for-one measure of Heian Era Japan on your trip.

The Kurama no Hi Matsuri commemorates the day in 970 when the Yuki Myojin was moved from central Kyoto to Kurama, and Kurama Village held a torchlit parade to welcome the kami to their new home. The matsuri starts at about 6pm in the evening, when big kagaribi bonfires are lit along the village streets.

Households display their family heirlooms, and a procession of local children and adults carrying taimatsu—flaming pinewood torches that vary from 5kg to 200kg in weight—snake through the streets to Yuki-jinja Shrine in the grounds of Kurama-deru Temple (a hidden gem in itself). For the finale, teams of men carry mikoshi—elaborate palanquins for the kami—up the steep path to the shrine.

Admission is free, but get there early: the festival has become popular with tourists in recent years, and both the village and the trains to get there become quite crowded. Also bear in mind that Kurama is a small residential village, so be considerate!

Get the best Japan Cheapo hacks direct to your inbox

Related Events
  • Ise Fireworks
    Mid
    Jul

    Ise Shrine Dedication Fireworks Festival

    Cancelled

    Take a seat on the Miyakawa river in Ise for one of the three biggest fireworks festivals in Japan. There are over 10,000 fireworks to be launched and pyrotechnicians from across the country attend to show off their skills. This […]

    7:15pm – 9:00pm
    Free
  • Mid
    Jul

    Nagoya Port Fireworks Festival

    Cancelled

    Compared to other festivals around the country, with only 3,000 fireworks, the Nagoya Port Fireworks Festival seems relatively small. Despite this, the scenic location for the event and its proximity to Nagoya attract a spectator audience of approximately 370,000 people.

    7:30pm – 8:20pm
    Free
  • Jul 1
    ~
    Jul 15

    Hakata Gion Yamakasa

    Postponed

    Hakata Gion Yamasaka is a festival with a 750 year history that features fundoshi (that ever popular festival garment) clad men race elaborately decorated floats that weigh in at 1 ton. The event is one of Fukuoka’s largest with approximately […]

    Free
  • Mid
    Jul

    Marine Festa in Kuchinotsu

    Cancelled

    As a port, Kuchinotsu began to flourish upon the arrival of the European traders. The town owes much to the sea so each year a Marine Festival is held. The festival is now a one-day event with stalls and entertainment […]

    Free