Koyasan Candle Festival 萬燈供養会

Koyasan Candle Festival
Koyasan Candle Festival

Let there be light at the Koyasan Candle Festival

On August 13 the walk up to sacred Okunoin Temple on Mt. Koya is illuminated by the flickering flames of around 100,000 candles. Wander the two-kilometer pathway, lit up on both sides, and join those coming to pay their respects in memorial of the souls that inhabit the grounds.

How to Get There

The nearest major transport hub to reach the temple is Nankai Koyasan Station. From Osaka , take the Nankai Koya Line straight from Namba to reach the station.

From Nankai Koyasan Station, take the Nankai Rinkan Bus and get off at Okunoin-guchi; Okunoin is 15 minutes on foot.

Of sacred significance

August in Japan signals Obon, the Japanese tradition of paying respects to ancestors and loved ones who have passed away. Welcoming fires, known as mukaebi, are lit in front of houses to guide these ancestral spirits back home. The softly glowing candles at the Koyasan Candle Festival are in effect the mukaebi directing the souls back to where they reside.

Visiting Okunoin during the Koyasan Candle Festival is akin to taking a step into a different spiritual sphere. From 7:00 p.m. onwards, candles are placed at the Ichinohashi Bridge, the entrance to the sacred area, and then for the next 2,000 meters. A ceremony is held at Torodo Hall at 8:00 p.m.

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