Usually, Koyasan is a very peaceful and quiet religious town uniquely located on top of the mountains with centuries-old tall trees but such a quite atmosphere drastically changes on June 14th and 15th when the whole town of Koyasan celebrates the birthday of Kobo Daishi, founder of Shingon esoteric Buddhism. Many groups of followers of Shingon sect of Buddhism come to Koyasan by bus from all over Japan to witness the special ceremonies, exhibitions, parades and etc.
On June 14th, the eve of the festival, one should not miss the evening parade of lighted-up lantern floats made of steel wires and Japanese paper manifesting large figures of Kobo Daishi and others. These floats are placed on a wagon with wheels pulled by a car or by many people. Starting at 6 p.m. at Ichinohashi, a parade of lantern floats is staged in a whimsical evening atmosphere along the main street via Kongobuji Temple up to Daimon.
On June 15th every year, a special memorial ceremony is held at Daishi Kyokai at 9 p.m. The center of the celebration then shifts to Kongobuji Temple at 11:30 a.m. for a prayer, or to Ichinohashi. On this occasion, Hanamido, a small portable altar containing an image of Kobo Daishi as child is carried round in the afternoon in the midst of the crowds. During the morning, other than the special ceremony involving many young monks at Daishi Kyokai, many other activities are also organized such as a tea ceremony, a calligraphy exhibition and a flower arrangement exhibition in Kongobuji Temple. Starting at noon, a long parade of the faithful people dancing to music and also of small children displaying their drum and flute skills is staged along the main street in an atmosphere that is both respectful and festive. In a very happy and merry mood, the birthday of Kobo Daishi is celebrated by the whole town of Koyasan.