Seasonal event calling the end of summer “Nara Daimonji Okuribi”
Image Provided by Nara city Tourist Association.
Nara prefecture is proud of is rich history, where it has been considered as the area where Japan as a country is originated from, and it is located in the Midwestern part of Honshu Island. In the Nara period, Heijokyo Capital, the capital of Japan where the Silk Road ended was located in this area surrounded by steep mountains had boasted prosperity.
Besides the very famous Daimonji in Kyoto, there also is Daimonji in Nara, and it is one of the established popular events in summer for the locals. Nara Daimonji Okuribi is an event which is held on August 15th, the third day of Obon, as a memorial service for the war dead from Nara prefecture, and to pray for the world peace. This festival is still a young as it has started from 1960.
Memorial service for the war dead is commenced in Nara Park before the Daimonji is lit. This memorial service is carried out in a very rare manner, where the service in Shinto-style and Buddhist-style are carried out successively. The reason behind this is that the service is held encompassing the intent to “pray for peace beyond the religions and religious schools.”
At 8:00 PM, after the memorial service, Daimonji Okuribi is lit by setting the logs on the fire bed on fire, and the shape of a Chinese character “Dai,” meaning large of great, gradually emerge into the darkness of the night about 5 minutes after the lighting, and the fire remains lit for about 30 minutes. The number of logs on the fire bed is 108, same as the number of earthly desires of human beings. In addition, the character, “Dai” also is said to symbolize the universe. The size of the character is one of the largest in Japan, and the first stroke is 109-meter (approx. 358ft) long, the second stroke is 164-meter (approx.538ft) long, and the third stroke is 128-meter (approx. 420ft) long. Although you might find view from the main venue spectacular and the best, you can also enjoy it clearly from anywhere you can see Takamadoyama Mountain. In addition, please note that you may need to secure a spot in advance, if you would like to view it from popular viewing spots, as this is one of the most popular tourist events.
Nara Daimonji Okuribi
Address 160 Kasugano-cho, Nara city, Nara Prefecture