Festivals & Events
Okerasai Festival おけら参り
A traditional fire ritual at New Year's, with fragrant herbs burned for good fortune
At New Year's, devotees descend on Kyoto's Yasaka-jinja Shrine to attend the late-night festival known as Okerasai. Medicinal herbs are set ablaze, and the negative energies of the previous year are swept away to bring in new good fortune.
- Taking home some of the embers to make zoni soup, or lighting a candle for good fortune
- Watching other visitors attempt to keep the fire alight during their journey home
How to Get There
You can get to Okerasai by bus, underground, taxi, or on foot.
Okerasai takes place at Yasaka-jinja Shrine , which is easy to access by public transportation. However, since this festival takes place from late on New Year's Eve to New Year's Day, public transportation may not be available for the duration.
Fires and fortune
The iconic fires of Okera-Mairi are lit with a medicinal herb and are said to remove the evil energy of the previous year.
If you want to improve your fortunes further, it is possible to take the flames home. To keep the fire alight at the end of the lit bamboo rope, it must be swung around continuously. The sight of ropes burning through the darkness will be an unforgettable start to a new year.