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What’s “Okuribi” in Kyoto? When and where to go in Kyoto?

Ritual praying for Obon holiday in Kyoto

We have the important event “Okuribi” to pray for our forefathers at night on August 16th  every year in Kyoto. 5 mountains will have fires which shapes are「大」「舟」「妙法」, and a symbol shape of the shrine called to torii.  The fires suggest the way for our forefathers to go back to the heaven.

Some Kyoto citizen have tea ceremony for “Okuribi”. Some family get together on the roof floor to see the spirit of the forefather together.


Funaoka mountain in north of Kyoto city is the best place to see these mountains for Okuribi. We can see 4 out of the 5 mountains from Mt.Funaoka.




Funaoka mountain is the great place to watch Okuribi


Funaoka park in Kyoto

We have the small park for children in Mt.Funaoka. Since it’s only 112m for the elevation, I had been playing here when I was 2 or 3 years old. Some adults also can play baseball or soccer on the wide space next to this small park.

Although the gate of the park is on the north of the mountain, the south stairs are nearer if you would like to go to top.

south staris

Since it’s dark at night, ladies must go with somebody.

But maybe you don’t need to worry too much on the day of Okuribi on August 16th because we have many people on the top this day.



What’s Okuribi?


Okuribi in Kyoto

We Japanese have the “Obon” holidays around August 13th to 16th. People who live far from their hometown often come back to their parents’ house in Obon, By making a fire in front of our house on 13th , we welcome the spirits of our forefathers. It’s said that they are at home in Obon. Then, we make fire again at August 16th to see off our forefathers.


We can see 2“大”(left and right), “妙法”, and the shape of a ship from Mt. Funaoka.  Especially, we can see leaping sparks of left 大 since it is very close from Mt.Funaoka.

left dai from Funaoka

Actually, Kyoto city was created by seeing from the top in Heian period (794-1192). We can see the tower of Kyoto, too.





The peaceful park changes to the best view point at night!


sunflower in Funaokayama park in Kyoto

Walking down from the top, we will find the small shine called “Kenkun”(Take isao). Walking more along the path, there is a wider space to have a rest.

Sunflower was flowering beautifully today.


It was only me and other 2 people on the day since it’s very hot and humid, but you’ll be packed like sardines on August 16th night.

mountain of ship

You can see the shape of the ship, and right “大”.

mountain of dai

The fire starts from 8pm. We watch them till the fires gradually disappear.

Seeing the fire shining brightly, I always remember my grandfather and the same day of the last year.

What I was doing last year, 2 years ago..


It might be better to come except August 16th to see beautiful night scenery, but it’s the best spot to see Okuribi for free.

If you come earlier, Funaoka public bath and the art gallery Fujinomori are also great places to visit near here.
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I hope you will pray for your forefather together if you join Okuribi event.

It seems like the festival for tourists, but actually it has the ritual meanings.

船岡山 看板

Funaoka mountain

Kita funaoka-cho Murasakino Kita-ku Kyoto