Q. Which is true about the following pictures that were taken at Kamo River in Kyoto on August 16th?
- The people are ready to see giant bonfires on a mountain.
- The people are ready to float paper lanterns down the river.
hint: August 16th is the day of Gozan no Okuribi, a Buddhist ritual that is widely known in Japan. The area in the pictures is called Kamo River Delta. It is one of the most popular spots to do SOMETHING on this day. It gets more crowded after sunset.
Japanese people believe that the spirits of our ancestors come back home in this world on August 13th. (The date slightly differs from region to region.) On August 16th, Gozan no Okuribi is held to see off the ancestors with fires. In the evening, many bonfires are lit on five mountains in the city of Kyoto. The bonfires are made in Chinese characters and shapes of a ship and a torii gate of a Shinto shrine. From Kamo River Delta, you can view the main Chinese character, ‘dai‘ on Mt. Daimonji.
Kamo River Delta is located at Demachiyanagi. Kamo River and Takano River meet here, and the river delta is known as a great place for families, friends and couples to go on a picnic. There are many universities in Kyoto, so sometimes I see students playing musical instruments here, too. Anyway, it is a very relaxing place.