Festivals in Kyoto: The Fire Festival in Kurama - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Festivals in Kyoto: The Fire Festival in Kurama

On Friday the 22. October it was time for the so-called Fire Festival (火祭り) situated in a little town called Kurama (鞍馬) by the mountain side a little north of Kyoto.
Right after school was finished me, Ericka, Silke and Raynor got on our bikes and headed towards Kurama. Before going there we had gotten warnings about the sloping terrain and that the trip would take approximately two hours. None the less, we had also heard rumors about crammed trains going to Kurama at previous fire festivals, so we decided to stick to our plan.

Going there was actually a lot easier then expected. It took us a little over an hour to get there and the terrain was not bad at all. Of course there was some slopes on the way but not nearly as much as predicted. Going out of Kyoto and biking through the wooden landscape on our way to Kurama was worth the trip in itself I think. The road was empty most of the time, and beside the occasionally car passing by the only thing we could hear was the sound of the cricket chirping.

Arriving in Kurama we got to experience the atmosphere of the town getting ready for the festival. People dressed up in traditional outfits, kids in the street carrying torches while shouting Saire-ya Sairyo. At this point there was not many tourists around us cause it seemes that most people going to the festival was traveling by train, and since we arrived from the opposite side of town we managed to avoid the crown in the beginning.

But as we walked towards the core of the town the crowd got bigger an in the end it was so crammed that we almost couldn´t move. We kept going north in an attempt to find somewhere we could eat and after a while we found ourselves situated just outside the Kurama Onsen (Hotspring) where we bumped into some other friends from Ritsumeikan University.
Here we finally found something to eat (Takoyaki!) and we spent the evening by the bonfire there. Since we went to Kurama by bike we had the opportunity to stay even after the tourists had left by the last train back to Kyoto. On our way back to the area we had parked out bikes we had the chance to look more closely at the festival without being pushed around like we did on our way to the Onsen area. At this point we also got to see the locals carrying two golden Mikoshi.


Our trip back to Kyoto went fast since we only were going downhill and we didn´t have any trouble finding the right way to go either since all we had to do was following the street. For people going to visit the Kurama Fire festival from Kyoto I strongly suggest renting a bike instead of taking the train..! ;)

2011 Update: Kyoto Daytrips - Biking to Kurama
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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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