Gozan no Okuribi (五山送り火), more commonly known as Daimonji (大文字), is a festival in Kyoto, Japan. It is the culmination of the O-Bon festival on August 16, in which five giant bonfires are lit on mountains surrounding the city. It signifies the moment when the spirits of deceased family members, who are said to visit this world during O-Bon, are believed to be returning to the spirit world—thus the name Okuribi (送り火) (roughly, "send-off fire").
This traditional festival is held in Kyoto every year on August 16th, during the Obon period. A bonfire is lit on each of the 5 mountains surrounding Kyoto, two in the shapes of the character for "big" (大), and one each in the shapes of a boat, a shrine gate, and the characters for "wondrous teaching of Buddha" (妙法). (The photo shows the bonfire in the shape of a shrine gate) These Obon bonfires are said to redeliver the souls of deceased ancestors to the afterlife.
Japanese Obon Festival
Toro nagashi in Hachioji, Japan - Tōrō nagashi (灯籠流し) is a Japanese ceremony in which participants float paper lanterns (chōchin) down a river; tōrō is traditionally another word for lantern, while nagashi means “cruise, flow”. This is primarily done on the last evening of the Bon Festival festival based on the belief that this guides the spirits of the departed back to the other world: photo by takumin
Japan Photo | all souls day = obon お盆 annual festivals
奈良の大の字 送り火 Nara - The character "dai" (大) is lit on the final night of o-Bon to send off the spirits