There was one of four big events on 16th August in Kyoto. It is called gozan－okuribi , literally five mountains sending off fire. This has some hundreds years of history.
During obon the spirits of ancestors came back home, and on the last day of obon we send them off with fire.
In Kyoto five giant bonfires are lit on mountains surrounding the city from 8 pm. Three of them form giant Chinese characters, and two of them are shapes as follows:
Daimonji, the Chinese character dai meaning “large” or “great” at 8:00 pm. The longest size is 160 m. There are 75 fire spots.
Myo/Ho, meaning “excellent law” at 8:05 pm.
Funagata, the shape of boat at 8:10 pm.
Hidari Daimonji, meaning left “large” character at 8:15 pm.
Toriigata , the shape of torii, shrine gate at 8:20 pm.
The most famous one is the character dai , therefore this event is also known as daimonji yaki, literally character dai burning. Each bonfire lasts for 30 minutes.
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