In winter, it is already the night and dark when the maiko leave their “okiya” (the geisha house where they live) to go to meet their patrons for the evening. I like this opportunity for night photography and all the challenges this implies.
Obon (お盆) is the Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to their family places and visit and clean their ancestors’ graves. During this time, the ancestor’s spirits are supposed to revisit the household altars.
The Tanabata legend tells of two lovers, Hikoboshi (Altair star) and Orihime (Vega star), who are separated by the “river of the heavens” (Milky Way) and are only allowed to meet once a year, on the night of July 7.
The event called Tanabata (Star) Festival relates to a romantic folk tale telling the story of the couple stars, the Lyre and Altair of Aquila that can only meet once a year on the night of July 7th (this day is called “Tanabata”). On this day, people of all ages will write their wishes on a strip of paper called “Tanzaku” and hang them on bamboo trees.
During the Urabon-E Festival, people worship the spirits of departed ancestors. The whole Otani Sobyo Cemetary, one of the largest one in Kyoto, is illuminated with lanterns placed next to each grave. The view of the hill, covered with these illuminated graves is something really special.