Fri, 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
  • Gion Matsuri
    Jul 1
    ~
    Jul 31

    2021 Gion Festival

    The Gion Matsuri (Gion Festival) is a month-long festival that takes place in Kyoto in July each year. The name comes from the neighborhood of Gion, which is home to some of the more traditional parts of Kyoto—including the geisha […]

    Free
  • Jul 30
    ~
    Aug 1

    Sumiyoshi Matsuri

    Cancelled

    The Sumiyoshi Matsuri (festival) happens over three days in and around Osaka’s Sumiyoshi Taisha shrine. The highlight is the nagoshi harai shinji ritual which happens on the middle day. The ritual involves participants (women and children) processioning through a straw […]

    Free
  • Nagaoka Fireworks Festival
    Aug 1
    ~
    Aug 3

    The Nagaoka Fireworks Festival

    Cancelled

    The Nagaoka Festival is held from August 1st to August 3rd around the Shinano River in Nagaoka City. Its main attractions are the portable shrine float parades and folk dance processions during the day with large-scale fireworks displays in the […]

    Free
  • best firework festivals in japan
    Early
    Aug

    Okazaki Fireworks Festival

    Cancelled

    The home of Mikawa fireworks, this is one of the biggest displays in Aichi, with spots by the river reserved a day in advance by many. With a history dating back to the Edo period, the festival uses 70% locally […]

    6:50pm – 9:00pm
    Free