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Daimonji or Gozan no Okuribi 2023

Enormous characters set afire to guide ancestors to the other world


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Huge bonfires are lit at 8 pm every August 16, on five mountains in Kyoto. They have the form of characters—"dai" ("large"), "myo," and "ho" forming "myo-ho" ("wondrous teaching of Buddha"), Funugata (boat shape), and Toriigata (torii shape). These huge characters are to guide the ancestors back to the other world. The rite is a demonstration of respect for ancestors and is best visible from the west bank of the Kamo River.

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