Every July 31, Kyoto's Mount Atago witnesses a surge in the number of hikers. And nearly all of them do so at night.
Mount Atago is the second highest mountain in the city, following Mt. Hiei.
On the 31st, Mount Atago plays host to "Sennichi Tsuyasai," a festival that focuses on fire, both positively and negatively.
The genesis of the festival is the hope for a thousand days of flame (cooking, heating) and also for a thousand days without home-wrecking fire.
From top to bottom, the hike is roughly 4 kilometers.
Hikers gather in the village of Kiyotaki at the base of the mountain around dusk. To guide them, the city strings up lights from Kiyotaki to the very top at Atago Shrine.
Families, couples, older folks, groups make the hike a mass of humanity.
Once at the top, pilgrims can purchase good luck charms that are said to ward off fire and bad luck.
What to Bring
Wear light clothes and bring something heavier (the temperature can be quite chilly)
Sneakers or light hiking boots
From JR Kyoto Station: Bus stop No. C6 Bus No. 72
From Hankyu Arashiyama station: Bus No. 62 or 72
From Keihan Sanjo station: Bus stop No. 14 Bus No. 62
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