Festivals & Events
Omizutori Festival お水取り
A dramatic celebration of fire and water
For the past 1,250 years, this dramatic, two-week long Buddhist festival has combined sacred water with purifying flames. Come from March 1 to 14 and witness the spectacle.
- The chance to witness one of the oldest Buddhist rituals in Japan
- Seeing the brilliant flaming torches light up the night during the Otaimatsu Festival
How to Get There
The festival takes place at Todaiji Temple in Nara Park, which can be reached on foot from JR Nara and Kintetsu Nara Station.
Kintetsu Nara Station is the closest station to Nara Park , just a short 5-minute walk from the exit. Alternatively, JR Nara Station is around a 20-minute walk from the park.
Sacred water from afar
According to legend, the water used in Omizutori has divine properties, and it is said the water is able to cure any ailment. As a result, visitors are offered a chance to drink some of the water after it is offered to the Buddhist deities. The people who draw the water take a vow of silence in the days leading up to the festival.
Preserving the water
On the final day, the divine water is mixed with water from another pot that has been replenished at the festival for over 1,200 years. This mixture of special waters is then saved for the next year.
Following the completion of the festival, it's said that spring has officially arrived and the cherry blossoms will start to bloom.
The Otaimatsu Festival
Every evening during the Omizutori festival period, you can witness the fiery Otaimatsu Festival. Young ascetics run back and forth along the temple's balcony, carrying huge pine torches. The constant movement and whipping around causes sparks to scatter upon the crowd below. These sparks are said to grant protection from evil spirits.
Two weeks of festivities
Omizutori is actually the highlight of 14 days of praying. During this time, worshippers are expected to confess all of their sins to the Kanon statue and offer up prayers for world peace and a good harvest.