Monday, August 12, 2013

Prayers for the repose of the soul and of gratitude

Nara Toka-e Festival (Candle Lighting Festival) takes place from August 5 to 14 prior to the climax of Obon. It is not an old festival but started 15 years ago.  Nara Park and its surrounding World Heritage Sites are illuminated by the lights from about 15,000 candles.  Almost all the electric lights are down except some low light for footsteps safety.
Ukimi-do Pavilion started glittering in a golden hue at 7. p.m. at Sagi-ike Pond, Nara Park
Currently Japan is enveloped in the fierce heat wave.  Temperatures reach 36 to 37 degrees C and soars to 40 degrees in certain areas.  When I was in Nara Park, evening squall was refreshing while it was lasting but when it stopped, it was so steamy that I felt like I was in a sauna.

  Soft pink flowers of Japanese crape myrtle looked glowing in the misty dusk. 

Candles are lit up one by one by the volunteers. Lighting a candle is, in itself, a prayer for the repose of the soul and of gratitude. Tohoku struck by the 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami is always in our prayers and thoughts.

As the night advanced, many images came and went in my mind
like the boats with the candles on the bow coming and going in the dim.

I’ll be away from the blog-sphere for a while.  Obon is a time-honored observance of impermanence, reflection and appreciation on our own life, gratitude to the late people, and having joys of family reunion.
Bamboo objet at the Asajigahara Field
Wish you the very best in the rest of August.  See you!
Leaving from the darkness of Kasuga Shrine to the lights of the traffic


  1. Your photos are always so artistic. I am glad that I cannot feel the heat but where I am it is cool and so I can enjoy your pictures without feeling uncomfortable. The second one is particularly beautiful. It looks as if there is a slight mist in the atmosphere.

  2. Special thoughts and photos Yoko - Japan has suffered greatly from those two natural disasters. Spend a happy and peaceful time with your lovely family.

  3. very informative post... Pictures are good...

  4.  こんばんは。お盆の頃の行事ですか、厳粛で、美ししいです。百日紅の花は長い期間咲く花へ永久にとの願いも込められているのでしょうか。

  5. Imágenes muy bellas,llenas de color y luz.

  6. I love Nara Park! Thank you for sharing these delightful photos. Sorry about your heat wave. That's even hotter than it is here, although a couple of summers ago, we got up to 105-110! And I know about steamy...normally our humidity is not as bad as south Florida, but lately we've had lots of rain.

    Re my behavior: I have a hard time behaving myself, but I keep trying. :)

    Keep the lights glowing and have a wonderful R&R with family and friends!

  7. Ohh, lovely ! Beautiful pics !
    Lanterns, lights and beautiful flowers ! Awesome post !
    I feel refreshed going through this sweet post.

  8. Hope you have a wonderful holiday, stardust! As usual there is a mystic feel to the images you posted. How enchanting it must be to actually see thousands of mini flames and reflect on what has been and what will be in the future. I like how the final photo shows people exit the soft candlelit atmosphere to an entirely different and electrical world. :)

  9. Just gorgeous! I love those pictures of the soft pink flowers -they are magical.

  10. It must be magical to wander in a beautiful place lit entirely by candles.

    Have a lovely time away and enjoy the beauties of your world.

  11. What a beautiful festival in a perfect place !
    Thanks for this gorgeous pictures !
    Have a nice week !

  12. This is one of my favourite Yoko-san posts so far. Breathtaking photos.

    Enjoy August with your family, take care and stay cool! また来月!

  13. Wow!!! This is BBB: Beautiful photos, Beautiful post, Beautiful festival!
    Congrats, Stardust!

  14. What a lovely festival!
    Thank you so much for your wonderful photos Yoko! :-)

  15. Gratitude is important every day but I would love to og to a festival.

  16. The night view is awesome. As you say, it's too hot every day. Please take care of heat stroke.

  17. 去年、大文字焼きや、東大寺のライトアップ等行きましたが、もう今年は暑くて、give up です。家の中で、クーラーと共に過ごしています。百日紅と浮見堂は優しい感じで、素敵です。
    まだまだ暑い日が続くそうですが、Enjoy summer with your family!

  18. Yoko, I just love your photos--such a beautiful place for a festival. The lights are lovely. Hope you and your family are well. Did you say your daughter was expecting a baby soon? If so, that is very exciting news--being a grandmother is a wonderful experience. Mickie :)

  19. Wonderful photos of light on water Yoko! The festival seems very special.
    Is this heat wave unusual? I don't think I'd like to be in such heat and humidity....never mind, autumn will soon be with us! In fact here mornings are starting to feel quite chilly.

    Have a lovely week,

  20. 彡♪♫°

    Belíssimas fotografias!!!

    °º✿♫ Boa semana!
    °º✿ Beijinhos
    º° ✿ °❤ Brasil ♫° ·.

  21. なんと優しくて幻想的で情緒にあふれた美しさでしょう!きっと実際見に行くよりも、燈花会のエッセンスがこの写真から感じられそうです。光が神々しくてこの世とあの世がこうして繋がっている気がします。

  22. Cudowna tradycja i wspaniałe miejsca. Ślicznie wyglądają palące się świece. Miłego pobytu z Rodziną. Pozdrawiam.
    A wonderful tradition and a great location. Looks pretty burning candles. Have a great time with the Family. Yours.

  23. The lighted pavilion and its reflection in the waters makes a lovely sight. Its a sure way to draw people to it like moths to a lighted candle. I like the photos of the crape mrytle. We have them here but they are planted as short shrubs.

  24. Thank you so much for sharing such amazing pitures, Yoko...
    I wish i could be sitting in one of these boats with a candle between my hands. Or maybe a photo camere to shoot as many pictures as I could.
    I got chills looking at these pictures, they broght me so much peace.
    Have a lovely August my dear.


  25. Hello, stardust.

     Expression of great moment.
     Fascinating photographing.

     Night view of the summer is fantastic.
     You enjoy a variety of events.

    Take care of yourself.

  26. What a beautiful festival this is! To be there in the night with all the candles must be quite a sight. Your flower pictures are lovely too. We have crape myrtle trees around here, many of them, but I wish they had a scent. Are yours scented?

  27. Vielen Dank / 有り難うございます / arigatō gozaimasu for that "enlightening" post with your wonderful photographs, Yoko! We have a festival of (candle) lights as well in July in the spa gardens of our home town, but it it's just a festival to delight the visitors; there's no other historical or religious background behind the idea.
    The same bush or tree on your photos two & three with the beautiful pink blossoms I found five weeks ago in the north of Italy, too. I cannot remember its name, but it's now exactly one year ago I saw it the first time in my life in Asakusa, Tokyo.
    This week I'm in our Swedish subsidiary at Södertälje, 35 km south of Swedens capital Stockholm. Together with a colleague from Germany we train new colleagues from Sweden, Denmark and Finland in our core technologies we successfully sell to our customers.
    So kind regards from Sweden with great late summer weather today! Enjoy the much cooler temeratures in your country!

  28. Thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures. They are fantastic. All the best wishes for your August days

  29. What a magical sight to see the glowing candles reflected in the water! Even the departing people have a beautiful glow from the lights of the traffic. Wonderful photos. I hope your blog break was restful. I'm glad the heat has broken in Nara. We are getting daily rains in the mountains of CO. The forest is very green. My gardens are happy.

  30. that is truly a beautiful sight. and reading your words about the reasons filled my heart. i hope you have had a wonderful obon season.

  31. I wish i could see for myself..what a way to honor and reflect....great pictures and very informative..

  32. Hi Stardust,
    I wanted to leave a comment on your new post, but I see you have closed your comments on there.
    I hope all is ok with you!
    The photos of the flowers and your grandchildren are so beautiful, such sweet little ones. All your images are always something special and the pictures of the candle light festival is totally magical as well.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Jo. x

  33. This is simply magical, Yoko. There is so much peace in the light of those candles and the silence of the night. I could actually feel it even when I am sitting miles far. Thank you very much for sharing this. I loved it.

    And welcome back, you were missed. Looking forward to hearing more from you, soon.

  34. there is no link on the post above, about the beautiful summer flowers. I wanted to say that an oxsalis rooted itself in a pot on my balcony, and it has grown into one of the most beautiful and useful pot plants that I have (I mean, plants for keeping outside in pots, not inside).

    I always love to see ripening tomatoes. Altogether it was a lovely post. And again, I am sorry that this comment is not in the right place. :)

  35. お久ぶりです!お盆の夜の幻想的なポストに続いて、お庭での楽しいお孫さんのポスト。可愛らしいですね。Yokoさんの笑顔も見えるようです。それにしても暑かったね!私の方も忙しい夏休みでした。無事にイベントを済ませてホッとしてます。


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