Every year around September 23rd there is a candle event at Hozanji Temple, on the mountainside in Ikoma (Nara, near the border with Osaka).
These candle light events are a common feature of Buddhist Temples (most notably Todaiji Temple in Nara or Shitennoji Temple in Osaka). These events spead thousands of candles around the area neighboring the temples. The term "mantou kai" or "10,000 candle meet" is applied here, but most of the other events are in August and are connected with the Obon holidays, this event is a month and is a good chance for visitors to such an event if they are visiting at a later time.
This event is one of the most spectacular mantou events as it extends outside of the temple and the community on the mountainside participates; with thousands of lanterns lighting the long staircases as well as the entrances of shops and houses.
The temple itself host stage performances with dancers, street performers, singers, musicians and traditional taiko drummers.
Below is a photo journal from the night of the Hozanji Mantou from September 22, 2016
|A landing on the stairs. There is a cafe/candleshop here that presents a large display of artisanal candles.|
|Volunteers cover the wooden lantern from with various designs.|
This is some fan art for the Korean Pop group Big Bang.
|Lanterns decorating a local shopping street near Hozanji Station which is halfway up the ascent of Mt. Ikoma.|
|A large collection of candles.|
|Lanterns all over the steps leading to Hozanji Temple.|
|Lanterns covered with simple words and characters; probably made by children.|
|Death Metal rainbow pony|
|Cute laughing jizo statues|
|A Pokemon design with Eevee and Mew|
|A cute Japanese version of Thumbilina (?) sitting on a sunflower.|
|Pikachu. This lantern acutally has the label of "Hozanji Manoukai"|
|A dancer whirling an LED bation.|
|A time exposure to display more of the LED baton; but the lapsed exposure obscures the human figure.|
|The dancer happened to holding a more stable pose here so she looks less obscured.|
|Fire twirling. The flames cast enough light on the dancer for better photos.|
|Preparing a flaming hula hoop.|
|Stage performers using flaming hula hoops.|
|Dancers using fire and LEDs.|
|The taiko group performing at the temple invited visitors to come and try the drums.|
There was a group of deaf people who were performing on the drum; sensing vibrations to synchronize their music.
|The smoke, mist and lights at the temple create an otherworldly atmosphere.|
|A large lantern at the temple. You can see a mountainside cliff which is lit to display at large statue.|
|A Shinto Shrine. Note the bark chip roof.|
|You can see candles arranged around the shrine.|
|Candles lighting some jizo statues.|
|A dim staircase with jizo statues.|
|A closer look at an altar of jizo statues. Note the typical red bibs which are often placed on jizo statues.|
|A torii gate and some stone lanterns.|
|Stone lanterns with the lights of Ikoma in the distance.|
|Paper lanterns and stone lanterns all alight.|