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Gozan no Okuribi


Gozan no Okuribi (五山送り火), more commonly known as Daimonji (大文字), is a festival in KyotoJapan. It is the culmination of the Obon festival on August 16, in which five giant bonfires are lit on mountains surrounding Kyoto city. It signifies the moment when the spirits of ancestors, who are said to visit this world during O-Bon, are believed to be returning to the spirit world—thus the name Okuribi (送り火, roughly, "send-off fire").

The origins of the festival are believed to lie in the ancient roots of Obon with specific families having the hereditary duty of organising the logistics of the bonfires. The festival is held every year on August 16th.


The first and largest fire starts on Mount Daimonji, which is located just above the famous Ginkakuji Temple in Kyoto. The fires start at 8 pm with one of the best spots to watch them being from the cool banks of the Kamo River.

The character dai (大) which means large or great is the Chinese character that is lit on Mount Daimonji. The other bonfires soon follow and are lit at five to ten minute intervals, with all of them being lit by around 8:30 pm. Each bonfire lasts for around 30 minutes.

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