Japan has many famous festivals, but one of the most well-known is the Gozan no Okuribi fire festival in Kyoto. Commonly known as Daimonji (“Large Characters”), the festival is held every year on Aug 16, when giant characters are lit up on five mountains surrounding the city, marking the moment when spirits of deceased family members return to the spirit world at the end of the Obon period.
People from around Japan travel to Kyoto to witness the spectacle, but now you won’t have to make the journey to enjoy the sight of the kanji characters, thanks to Kyoto tofu brand Otokomae.
The brand, whose name translates to “Handsome Man”, will be releasing a never-before-seen original Gozan no Okuribi Tofu during this year’s Obon period.
▼ The new package will feature the words “Gozan no Okuribi Tofu” written in beautiful stylised calligraphy on the front.
Inside will be six rounded servings, similar in shape to a mountain, and carved into each one will be the same image as those seen on the Kyoto mountains during the special festival.
The festival, and the tofu, feature three Kanji characters and two shapes:
- Dai (大), meaning “large” or “great”
- Myo (妙), meaning “wondrous” and Ho (法), meaning “dharma” appear on the same mountain to create the word “wondrous dharma”
- Dai (大), meaning “large” or “great” (the same kanji character is used on two different mountains)
- The shape of a boat
- The shape of a torii shrine gate
And in place of fire, you can bring the shapes to life with a dollop of soy sauce, which runs into the carved portions on each tofu to make the image appear.
It’s a brilliant way to celebrate the festival, and makes a fantastic souvenir for anyone visiting Kyoto during summer. The new Gozan no Okuribi Tofu is set to retail for 98 yen at supermarkets around Kyoto from Aug 13-16.
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