The Great Fire Kanji Mountain in Kyoto
Daimonji is a Japanese mountain in the northeast of Kyoto. It is especially famous for its annual festival when the fire pits on Daimonji illuminate the heights of the city on the evening of August 16. The rest of the year, it offers an easy hike to its top.
Daimonji is particularly renowned for Gozan (no) Okuribi, an event taking place every August 16 around 8 p.m. On this night every year, huge kanji characters (about 80 meters wide) are formed by large fires 🔥 lit on the mountains in the east of Kyoto to celebrate the end of Obon, the festival of the dead.
On the rest of the year, the mountain Daimonji-san is very accessible, and it is also a short hike that we recommend to all travelers in Kyoto. When walking on the Philosopher's Path, continue up to Ginkakuji temple. Getting out of the Silver Pavilion, turn right immediately and walk a few semi-residential streets to get to the beginning of the Daimonji hike.
The climb itself is not that long: 30 to 45 minutes. But the reward is well worth it: the view on Kyoto city from the top is even better than from Iwatayama on the opposite side. You can admire the ancient Japanese capital's perpendicular avenues from its extreme north down to the south, farther than the station. Take this opportunity to recognize the temples and other most remarkable landmarks, such as the great red torii ⛩️ gate of Heian Jingu shrine. The ideal excursion includes bringing in one’s bento 🍱 and admire this wonderful view while eating.
Let’s have a glimpse of Daimonji’s walk in pictures, from the mountain’s foot to its top.