Obon in Japan -Okuribi-

August 17, 2016 Juju Kurihara Culture, Vocabulary Tags: , , , , 4 Comments

15th of August in Japan is the last day of Obon (お盆) as well as the memorial day of the end of the WWII. Still many families burn Okuribi (送り火) to send the soul of the ancestors back to their world. My grandma does it too. Usually Mukaebi (迎え火) is burnt on the 13th of August to receive the ancestors. It´s said that the smoke is the sign for the souls to reach their home correctly. Then during three days of Obon, your loved ones spend time with you in our world. 


What they burn is Ogara (おがら), split firewood made of pine tree. People used to use straws but now they are becoming more expensive and this pine sticks are sold commonly in the supermarkets. 



This is Okuribi, my grandma did this year. It was quite a windy day but they managed. Good by grandpa, see you next year!




  1. Niccolò Capuano 3 years Reply

    I recently lost a person who was very important to me. She was from Yokohama.
    I read that,in the Kanto region,Bon was (and somewhere still is) celebrated in mid july,one month earlier than in the rest of the Country. It is called Shichigatsu Bon.
    Could you please tell me something about it,and possibly the date in which it will be celebrated this year?
    Since Reina (that is the name of the person I lost) was very proud of being from Yokohama and deeply loved that part of Japan and its culture, so I would like to honour her on the proper date.
    Arigatou gozaimasu.

    • Juju Kurihara 3 years

      Konnichiwa Niccolò san

      I am sorry for your loss. I can hear your deep love and respect for her.

      Yes, Kanto, particulary in Tokyo Bon is celebrated earlier and this year it starts on the 13th of July and ends on the 16th of July. It seems that Yokohama also tend to do it in July. 

      Reina would be very happy with this. You may know already but during this period, all the spirits come home and stay with us. 


  2. Rich michalak 5 years Reply

    Is there a point of contact in Japan that I can communicate with.

  3. Beth Parkhurst 6 years Reply

    What a wonderful festival! I very much wish that my mother and father would spend three days with me every August. We would spend the time at our place in the mountains. Mom Nd Dad loved it there. Thank you for telling me about this.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *