category: hakone, travel-reports
Hakone Gora Summer Festival was held on 16 September among beautiful surroundings of Gora Station. Hakone City is full of tourists and there are a lot of festivals during the summer, but this one is kind of special, because of ‘daimonji- yaki’, which is organized at Gora Summer Festival every year, since 1921.
Although there are a lot of interpretations as to the origins of this event, it is generally regarded as a fire set alight at the gate for seeing off the souls of ancestors after commemorating the welcoming of their souls. Expect for daimonji- yaki, organizers had invited a lot of popular celebrities.
Performances on the main stage
To get to the Gora, I had to transfer on the Hakone Yumoto Station. Going by this train was the first awesome tourist attraction for me. People who decided to reach there by train, instead of car, were really lucky! The train was older, than I expected, because of getting used to the modern, fast Japanese trains. Traveling by train equipped with old mechanism, which slowly was going up to the mountain was unforgettable experience! What is more, you couldn’t get bored with that slow travel, because of adorable landscapes of high mountains.
When we finally had reached the station, I noticed a lot of people dressed with kimono and happi coats, gathered in the square. On the main stage I saw the performance of rock group, called ‘Kotobuki band’. People were enjoying the rock energetic music and the dancers. They were drinking beers and singing together. The next was ‘Yoshimoto Laughing Stage’. In this part, ‘Chocolate planet’ group presented two short sketches, which are popular on Japanese youtube and TV programs. Even if you know Japanese just a little, you could easily understand the meaning.
When getting darker, more and more people were coming in the square. All of them were looking foreward to the giant bonfire. Unfortunately, begun to rain just at the moment of setting fire. Although, people were waiting patiently for the ‘daimonji- yaki’ without giving up. Finally, ａ large bonfire shaped in the letter ‘dai’ showed up on the mountainside of Myojogatake, which was clearly visable from the square. To make the event more attractive, organizers shooted up the fireworks just near the burning letter. It seemed like people don’t mind the rain at all, because they were looking up to the sky for a long time with an excitement.
At the end of festival, the big Japanese star Aki Yashiro and Millea gave a great concert. I didn’t know this singer before, but when I had seen the enthusiatic reaction of audence, I understood that she is really famous celebrity. Aki Yashiro is more than 60 years old, but she is still able to entertain the audience regarless of age.
One of the most famous tourist attraction in Hakone is ‘daimonji-yaki’. Gora Summer Festival attract attention of tourists every year. For the foreigners it’s not the usual event, because by the watching a bonfire, they can know something new about the Japanese Buddhist culture. If you would like to watch the burning letter on real, let’s come next year to Gora. I’m sure, you will be impressed!
|Name||Hakone Gora Summer Festival|
|Location||Square before the Gora Station|
|Opening hours||16 August 16.30-22.15|
|Access||From Gora Station 1 minute by walk|
*Please check for the latest information before visiting.
* This article was written by a trainee from overseas. Please note that there might be spelling and grammar mistakes.