en-us-KATO TOYOHISA Daimonji (大) SETOGURO  


Gozan no Okuribi (五山送り火, 5 Mountain send-off bonfires), more commonly known as Daimonji (大文字) ~ an ancient tradition in Kyōto that celebrates the Obon Matsuri, August 16th. 

“大” Gozan no Okuribi -  Daimonji (大文字), the character meaning "large" or "great:" · “大”
“大” Gozan no Okuribi - Daimonji (大文字), the character meaning "large" or "great:" · “大”

At exactly 8 pm, every August 16th, the first of five characters - the "dai" (大) - is lit. It burns for roughly 30-40 minutes and is located on Higashiyama, in the hills behind Kyoto University. The three strokes are 80 meters x 160 meters x 120 meters long.


Doshiro Kato (Toyohisa Kato)

Kato Hisashi Doshiro Ceramic history

Showa 37

Born in Gifu prefecture


Received the Asahi Ceramic Art Exhibition New Face Encouragement Award


Received the Tajimi City Art Exhibition Award


Selected for the Chunichi International Ceramics Exhibition


Selected for Asahi Ceramic Art Exhibition (once thereafter)

Received the Tokai Traditional Crafts Exhibition Ando Cloisonne Award


Received the Gifu Prefectural Art Exhibition Excellence Award

Selected for Tokai Traditional Crafts Exhibition (twice thereafter)


Received the Chunichi Encouragement Award at the Mino Crafts Exhibition (twice thereafter)


Selected for the Contemporary Tea Ceramics Exhibition

Mino Ceramics Sho 6 Award Tea? Exhibition Sho 6 Award

Works preserved for many years (Gifu Ceramics Museum)


Selected for Issuikai Ceramics Exhibition (once thereafter)


Collection of purchases from the Sèvres Museum in France

Renamed Toyohisa to Doshirohisa


Received the Mino Ceramics Exhibition Chunichi Encouragement Award <Red Purple Yuzu Vase>

Received the 2012 Mino Ceramics Kikyo Award

Mino Ceramic Art Sho Roku Prize Tea Exhibition Jury Special Award


Councilor of Mino Ceramics Association

Daimonji Yaki also commonly known as Daimonji Gozan Okuribi is a festival which forms part of the Obon celebrations in Kyoto. Enormous bonfires are set alight on five mountains in Kyoto in the shape of Chinese characters and other symbols to help guide our ancestors back to the spiritual world after Obon.

It is believed that our ancestors return to this world during Obon to visit their descendants. Daimonji Yaki is considered to be one of Japan's most impressive spectacles and is a highlight of summer in Kyoto.

Daimonji Yaki is the culmination of the Obon festival and is performed on the evening of August 16th to bid farewell to the souls of our ancestors. It signifies the moment when the spirits leave our world for the spiritual world. The official name of the festival is Daimonji Gozan Okuribi, where gozan means five mountains, and okuribi means send-off fire in Japanese.

The largest fire is always burned on Mount Daimonji, which is located just above the famous Ginkakuji Temple in Kyoto. The fires start at 8 pm with one of the best spots to watch them being from the cool banks of the Kamo River.

The origins of the festival are believed to lie in the ancient roots of Obon with specific families having the hereditary duty of organising the logistics of the bonfires. The festival is held every year on August 16th.

Festival Highlights

The highlight of the festival is the largest and most famous bonfire on Mount Daimonji, which is the first to be lit from 8:00 pm. The character dai (大) which means large or great is the Chinese character that is lit on Mount Daimonji. The other bonfires soon follow and are lit at five to ten minute intervals, with all of them being completed by 8:30 pm. Each bonfire lasts for around 30 minutes.

You can view the bonfires from many locations in Kyoto, but the best spot to view the festival is from the Nakagyo Ward, in the center of the city. Many people pay for the privilege of viewing the spectacular fires from the rooftop of a hotel in the area. A lot of people also like the banks of the Kamo River between Sanjo and Imadegawa Streets which is free and offers you excellent view of the initial fires.

Festival Information:

Location: Kyoto City
When: August 16
Time: Starts from 8:00 pm
Cost: FREE (Paid viewing is also available at hotels in the Nakagyo Ward of Kyoto)

加藤土代久氏(右)と加藤智子氏 Mr. Doshiro Kato (right) and Mr. Tomoko Kato
加藤土代久氏(右)と加藤智子氏 Mr. Doshiro Kato (right) and Mr. Tomoko Kato