Kyoto – Gozan Okuribi

Last night, Teddy and I dressed up in our yukata, and went off to meet with my previous students and coworkers for dinner and to watch Gozan Okuribi. Gozan Okuribi, which means “the five mountain send-off fires” is also known as “Daimonji” – after one of the kanji that is used in the fires. Daimonji takes place on August 16th, and marks the end of O-bon. O-bon is a time when people believe the spirits of the dead return to the earth, so many people go back to their hometowns at this time and care for their family graves. These send-off fires are supposed to guide the spirits back to the afterlife.

There are 5 send-off fires lit in order from east to west – dai (kanji for “Large”), myou-hou (“wonderous dharma”), fune-gata (shape of a boat), hidari-dai (the kanji for large on the left), and torii-gata (the shape of a shrine gate). The first fire is lit at 8 pm, and the last is lit at 8:20 pm. From our perspective, we could see all of the fires except for torii-gata.

We began our evening at Koyaji, an izakaya (Japanese bar) right by my old school from my JET days.

I enjoy going out to eat with others, because then I can share with you the foods that I don’t eat!

Daimonji 002r

The food on the right is okonomiyaki, a meat and vegetable pancake with fish flakes, mayonnaise and brown sauce on top. The other food is karaage, fried chicken.

Daimonji 003r

We got a fried tofu salad.

Daimonji 004r

We also got a cheese omelet, and mochi filled with fried nori and covered in cheese.

Daimonji 005r

The two men in the back are my former coworkers. The girls are from the homeroom class I visited each morning. They graduated in 2008!!

Daimonji 006r

Me and Teddy at the izakaya.

Daimonji 008r

Some type of meat and potato croquette.

Daimonji 010r

Another group photo!

Daimonji 011

A variety of fried, skewered foods.

Daimonji 015r

This is “Dai”, the first fire.

Daimonji 020r

Me and Teddy in front of “Dai”.

Daimonji 026r

This is “Myou-Hou”.

Daimonji 030

A close-up of “Myou”…

Daimonji 029

…and one of “Hou”.

Daimonji 035r

It was so hazy that “Fune-gata” looked like it was floating in the sky. Here is it in the process of being lit.

Daimonji 039r

Fune-gata burning brightly.

Daimonji 045rrr

All of us in front of “Myou-Hou”.

Well, that is all for Daimonji!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barb Lange
    Aug 17, 2013 @ 12:20:01

    It looks like a lovely reunion! I’m glad you made it to the fire ceremony.

    Reply

  2. Marie Elder
    Aug 17, 2013 @ 14:52:58

    Looks like an enjoyable event (events?) You guys look great!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: