Candle Festival in Koyasan(ろうそく祭り)

The middle of August (13th ~15th) is the “Obon” season which is very important for the Japanese people. Family members engaged in works away from their native places invariably returned home to spend Obon with their parents. The Japanese people commonly believe that on this day the spirits of the dead return to the homes where they used to live in their earthly life. To guide the spirits on their return, lighted lanterns are sometimes hung in the rural houses where such services are held.

Every year on August 13th at Koyasan, Rohsoku Matsuri (Candle Festival) is held for memorizing the spirits of the deceased. A magical and fantastic atmosphere is created in darkness by lighting about 100,000 candles along the 2km-long alley leading from Ichinohashi to Torodo in Okuno-in. From 7 o’clock in the evening, people walk up to Torodo for consolation of the departed souls of their ancestors as well as beloved ones. Tourists are also welcome to join the festival. The memorial service is held from 8 o’clock in the evening at Torodo (Candle hall) which stands before the Mausoleum of Kobo Daishi.