The Obon holiday, which falls in mid-August is one of the main public holidays in Japan, it’s a time for paying respects to your ancestors and has been observed for over 500 years. One of the largest ceremonies in my area, Urabon-e takes place at Shitennoni Temple.
During this event, around 10,000 candles with ancestor’s names written on are placed in rows around the temple and lit in the evening.
It was already a hot evening, but the heat from all the candles was incredible and the air was thick with smoke.
It’s a little sobering when you consider what each of these candles represents, people seemed contemplative but most definitely enjoying the beautiful sight of these candles lighting the temple buildings and cloisters.
We didn’t see any monks in procession as we expected to, but the sound of their chanting was routed through speakers throughout the complex which really added to the atmosphere!
A monk was offering prayer in one of the nearby buildings.
Of course it wouldn’t be a proper event without matsuri stalls and games!
Urabon-e takes place from Aug 9th – 16th, it’s a fantastic sight that’s definitely worth seeing for yourself.