A Celebration of the Dead

The spirits of the dead return to their homes on earth during the week of Obon, celebrated in July or August in different parts of Japan. Families place lanterns by the gates of their houses to guide the spirits home; they also burn candles in paper lanterns in temples and cemeteries. At the end of the week, villages guide their ancestors back to the Western Paradise. In Kyoto, every year on August 16, giant bonfires are lit on mountains around the city to help the spirits on their way.

Kyoto Temples

-- Bonfire Photo, The Kyoto Shimbun

all others by mee

Above and Below, Higashi Otani Cemetery
Kiyumizu Temple