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お盆の終わりを告げる3つの京都の行事/Three Kyoto events bring us to the end of Obon season

昨日8月16日は #お盆 の終わり、ご先祖様が帰って行かれる日でした。お見送りに際して、行われる3つの慣習をご紹介します。

Yesterday August 16th is traditionally considered as the day our ancestors' spirits go back to their world, that is, the end of #Obon season. To see off them, there are three customs and events.

【送り鐘 -- A bell hitting called Okurigane】


Around Sanjo shopping street, there is a small temple named Yatadera with a special bell. This is usually a quiet place but on this day, a lot of people come here to hit the bell. In a cheerful shopping street, the gong sound was impressively echoed.


In the beginning of Obon season, there are several temples where people hit the bell to welcome the spirits.

矢田寺/ Yatadera

【灯籠流し -- lantern floting】


Five(white, green, yellow, red, blue) colors of lanterns are set adrift in a pond, river or sea. In Buddhism, the colors symbolizes all elements in the nature or its is said spiritual enlightenment.

灯篭流し/ Lantern float

私は広沢池で鑑賞しましたが、嵐山や京都以外の他の水辺の地域でも見ることができ、日本人の死生観として、水が流れゆくもの、すなわち遥か彼方、あの世へ続いていくものであったことを思わされます。 あの世は海の向こうにあると考えられたのかもしれませんね。

I enjoyed it at Hirosawa Pond and it is one of the most famous sites, but still you can see it at Arashiyama district in Kyoto and other areas in Japan, too. All sites are located near waterside in common, which shows Japanese people have viewed water flows and takes spirits far away to the sea. They might have thought the other world of the dead are over the ocean.

灯篭流し/ Lantern float



Bonfire is also a way to see them off. Kyoto bonfire is named Gozan-no-okuribi (five mountain bonfires). It is very religious originally but since we take days off in Obon season, many tourists visit Kyoto to appriciate it.

送り火/ Bone fire


It is Summer tradition in Kyoto that happens once a year. Due to this, it might be difficult to see, but I hope you have a chance to experience them.

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