Tanabata always makes me happy, its romantic, and I like all the pretty decorations. This year we couldn’t see the Okawa river milky way in Osaka, as it was on a Tuesday but we did manage to visit Shitennoji Temple again, and we did something new…
J and I got married on Christmas Eve in Kyoto 2009, 5 years ago! Since we lived in Osaka we have made it a tradition to go back to the shrine we got married at and pray.
This year we went a little earlier than usual as we couldn’t be together for our anniversary or Christmas.
O-bon week is about remembering your ancestors, many people return to their hometowns and clean their family graves.
Shitennoji temple hosts Urabon-e Manto Kuyo, a prayer candle event, you write the name of your ancestor on the paper which is burnt and sent to the gods.
It was really hot and the heat of the burning candles just made it even hotter! Monks were chanting prayers over the speaker systems and there was certainly two different vibes to the evening. One was a part celebratory matsuri vibe with the festival stalls with fish and cotton candy but also also another more somber vibe with an older crowd and people praying with prayer beads over the candles.
According to the website there are about 10,000 candles burnt during the event. I’m really glad we went it was definitely a sight to behold.