Mountain of Burning Letters, Kyoto Daimonji Okuribi Mountain Bonfire!

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Overview

 

Mountain Bonfire, known as Gozan no Okuribi or Daimonji Okuribi in Japanese, is one of the major traditional seasonal events in Kyoto. Here, the giant bonfires, each with a distinct shape, are lit on mountains surrounding the city. This bonfire also signifies sending off spirits of deceased family members who came to visit during O-Bon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event Schedule

 

Every year on August 16

Time: from 8:00 P.M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Enjoy

 

The bonfires are not lit all at together at the same time, but after 5 minutes interval. The bonfire will be lit on this order:

 

Start 8:00 P.M. Daimonji

→ 8:05 Myō/Hō

→ 8:10 P.M. the shape of the boat (Funagata)

→ 8:15 P.M. Hidari Daimonji

→ 8:20 P.M. the shape of Torii or Shrine Gate (Toriigata)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Watch?

 

There are many places where you can enjoy watching the Mountain Bonfire. However, even local people could at most watch 4 bonfires at a time. Here are some places where you can watch all of it at once.

 

Aeon Mall Kyoto Go-jou*: The rooftop would be open for people to watch the Mountain Bonfire for free on the Mountain Bonfire Day.

 

Kyoto Station Building’s Skywalk: 700 people who won the lottery could enter from here. The lottery registration (via Internet and postcard) starts from mid-July, so please check from Kyoto Station Building Home Page.

 

https://www.kyoto-station-building.co.jp/gozan/

 

Kyoto Station Building’s Observation Deck 4F & 5F: This is the symbolic tower of Kyoto, located in front of Kyoto Station. However, regular visitor cannot enter the observation deck during the Mountain Fire Festival because it is reserve by tours.

 

Here are the places where you can watch one letter or more:

 

Location Letter  
Near Keihan Demachiyanagi Station: Daimonji and Myō/Hō  
Kyoto Imperial Garden Daimonji and Myō/Hō  
Kitaoji Bridge Daimonji and Myō/Hō  
Notre Dame Women University・Takaragaike Tutoring Center Myō/Hō  
Takano River near Takano Bridge Myō/Hō  
Funaoka Mountain Daimonji, Boat Shape, Hidari Daimonji, Myō/Hō  
Around Subway Matsugaki Station Daimonji  
Nishioji-Road and Wara Tenin Intersection Hidari Daimonji
Togetsu Bridge, Matsuo Bridge, Saga Seiryoji, area near Hirosawa Pond Torii Shape

 

 

There are going to be many people who came to watch the Mountain Fire and it is expected to be crowded. Let’s decide which bonfire you want to watch and quickly move to the watching spot to secure a good place.

 

 

Watching Bonfire while Enjoying Dinner!

Slowly enjoy your dinner while watching the bonfire is also a good idea.

 

 

Restaurant Kiev:

Here you can see Daimonji, Myō/Hō, and Higashiyama Lantern Festival. You choose either of the two plans provided: watch the lighting before the meal or after the meal, to watch the Bon Fire from this 6th Floor restaurant.

 

 

Meal Before the Lighting [JPY 9000]Max. 80 people 17:30 Reception 18:00~19:30 Dinner 19:45~20:30 Watch the Bon Fire
Meal After the Lighting[JPY 8000]Max. 40 people 19:30 Reception 19:45~20:30 Watch the Bon Fire 20:30~22:00 Dinner

 

http://www.restaurant-kiev.com/8-16.html

 

 

Sky Restaurant & Lounge:

Here you can watch all the Mountain Bon Fire except the Boat Shape. There are Mountain Bon Fire Plans where you can enjoy dinning while watching the Bon Fire.

 

For further details:

http://www.kyoto-tower.co.jp/tower_hotel/restaurant/kuu.html

 

 

Doisha University’s [Kanbankai] Second House Will

You can watch from the Mountain Bon Fire from this 7th Floor Restaurant.

 

For further details:

http://www.secondhouse.co.jp/will-info_daimonji.html

 

 

BonbonCafe:

From this restaurant’s terrace, you can see Daimonji right in front of your eyes, which makes this the best restaurant for see Daimonji. However, you cannot make advance reservation, so it’s expected to be highly crowded on the day.

 

For further details:

http://www.madoi-co.com/food/bon-boncafe/

 

 

Restaurant Kikusui Rooftop Beer Garden:

This is a long-established rooftop restaurant in Gion. From here you can see Myō/Hō and the Boat Shape.

 

For further details:

http://www.restaurant-kikusui.com/rf/

 

 

Most of these restaurants require reservation, so please reserve in advance to ensure that you will get to comfortably enjoy watching the bonfire while dining.

 

 

Slowly enjoy Bon Fire at the Hotel

Watching Bon Fire from your hotel room is also another good choice in enjoying the Mountain Bon Fire comfortably. If you do not want to stay over, you could also choose to have a dinner at the hotel while watching the Mountain Bon Fire.

 

 

Kyoto Hotel Okura

Reservation starts from early June.

From the 4F Lobby, you can watch ‘Daimonji’ and from the rooftop of the hotel, which stands 60 meter above the ground, you can see Hidari Daimonji, Boat Shape, Myō/Hō, and Torii (the Shrine Gate).

 

You can watch the Mountain Bonfire from 4F Lobby

For more details:

http://okura.kyotohotel.co.jp/event_detail/event/kho2015daimonji.html

 

 

Kyoto Tower Hotel

For Mountain Bon Fire Watch Plan, guest will be served meal at the dinner hall before the Mountain Bon Fire starts. After the dinner, guest will be guided to Kyoto Tower Observation Deck, where guest can see all the Bon Fires. Before the meal, explanatory session by Professor Yagi from Buddhist University would also help you understand about Mountain Bon Fire and be able to enjoy more.

 

For more details:

http://www.kyoto-tower.co.jp/tower_hotel/news/10326.html

 

 

Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto

Each restaurant in the hotel has special dinner plan where guest can watch the Mountain Bonfire from the Hotel’s rooftop. From there, you can see Myō/Hō, the Boat Shape, Hidari Daimonji, and Torii.

 

For more details:

http://www.princess-kyoto.co.jp/event/19414

 

 

Apical Inn Kyoto

Here, you can see Myō/Hō right in front of your eyes. There is no Mountain Fire Dinner Plan.

For more details:

http://www.tabitora.co.jp/tiger/info/hotelInfo/?g=66&h=1301

 

 

KKR Kyoto Kuniso

This hotel is located close to Daimonji, so if you want to enjoy the event up close, this is an ideal place. There is no Mountain Fire Dinner Plan.

 

For more details:

http://www.tabitora.co.jp/tiger/info/hotelInfo/?g=66&h=1301

 

 

Hotel Rubino Kyoto Horikawa:

There is an Accommodation Plan which includes Mountain Bon Fire Watching. From 8:00 P.M., guest can watch the Mountain Bon Fire at the hotel’s rooftop (except the Torii).

 

For more details:

http://www.tabitora.co.jp/tiger/info/hotelInfo/?g=66&h=1301

 

Aside from these, there are also hotel provides Yukata Dressing Plan, which would please many women as well.

 

Most information and reservation details are provided in only in Japanese. So if you are interested in these plans, or you want to know more about other plan, please feel free to contact us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cautions

 

Most of these restaurants / hotel require reservation, so please reserve in advance to ensure that you will get to comfortably enjoy watching the bonfire while dining.

 

 

 

 

 

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