Hotarubi-no-Chakai / Tadasu-no-Mori Noryo-ichi
|蛍火の茶会 / 糺の森納涼市|
|Category||annual events at Shrines / Flea Market|
Hotarubi no Chakai(special tea gathering of fireflies) is an annual event in Shimogamo-Jinja shrine that takes place on an early evening in June. At around eight in the evening, more than four hundred fireflies are released in the precincts of the shrine. You may enjoy the tea ceremony which is provided, listen to a koto performance or watch a dance demonstration in ceremonial dress at Shimpukuden hall(where winter and summer clothing are sewn and offered to the deities) in the shrine precinct. Also, at front of Romon gate, Japanese sweets and sake are offered at the well-known shops of Kyoto in the summer market called “Tadasu no Mori Noryo ichi”(Tadasu-no-Mori forest evening market).
There is a very high end restaurant near the shrine where you can find Arare(cubic rice crackers) and Chirimensansho(dried baby sardines with chinese pepper).
Here is a well-known incense shop. Pretty incenses and Nioibukuro(sachet : a small soft bag containing perfumed powder) are also available.
A number of well established Wagashi(Japanese sweets) shops are set up near the Kyoto Gyoen. You can find sweets made of soy beans here.
Here is one of Kyoto’s most famous shops. Mamedaifuku(rice cake stuffed with bean jam and peas) is very popular here and people are always lined up for miles to buy it.
We couldn’t leave without buying something! Mention Shimogamo shrine and people think of MitarashiDango(skewered rice dumplings in a sweet soy glaze), so we bought some. And it was delicious, hot and freshly made.
Now, passing through Romon gate we can see that the preparations for the Hotarubi-no-Chakai are in full swing. The sun is going down and the festivities are about to start. The fireflies that will be released are waiting in the cage.
The sun has set and the dance performance at Shimpukuden hall has started. The ceremonial Juni-Hitoe(a ceremonial robe of a Japanese court lady) are truly splendid.
Later, at around eight o’clock, the fireflies are released into Tadasu-no-Mori. Here we see the entrance to the firefly viewing area.
The flash of the fireflies in the night sky is accompanied by appreciative shouts of “Wow!” “Beautiful!” It’s hard to tell in this picture but the brief twinkle of the fireflies in the dark is beautiful and so relaxing.
How would you like to have this amulet as a souvenir? It’s available for a limited time only at the shrine. There are only a few of these left, so if you are interested, don’t delay!
59 Shimogamo Izumigawacho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto
|Access||1 minute walk from City Bus Stop Shimogamo-jinja Mae 10 minute walk from Keihan Demachiyanagi Station|