Updated: February 15, 2019
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Omizutori: Fire Torch Festival In Nara!

Nara City

If you are planning to visit Nara prefecture in March, Omizutori is an event you can't miss. Omizutori (お水取り) is a fire torch festival held in Todaji, one of the most famous temples and tourist sites around Nara.

Mar 01, 2019(Fri) - Mar 14, 2019(Thu)
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What is Omizutori(お水取り)...?

Omizutori(お水取り) is a Buddhist event held annually in March, at Todaiji temple. Its history goes back to the Heian period, more than 1200 years ago. The essence of Omizutori is a kind of worship of water towards god. During the event, priests with a torchlight in hand descend repeatedly from the Nigatsudo hall to the holy well at the base of the temple. Drawing water from the well, which literally means Omizutori in Japanese.

Following Omizutori, the Dattan festival is also held in the Nigatsudo hall throughout the night. priests swing around the burning torches with horns blowing and bells ringing.

Omizutori is performed at Nigatsudo hall(second-month hall), a sub-complex of Todaiji temple. According to the lunar calendar, the second month is the month which we call March nowadays. This is why Omizutori is held every March.

Otaimatsu(お松明): Spectacular fire torch event!

Of the many events held in Omizutori, Otaimatsu, the fire torch is the biggest and the most impressive one. 6 to 8 meters tall fire torches will be carried up to the Nigatsudo hall and lit on fire. From the ancient times, the fire was regarded as something sacred and onlookers pray for a safe year by looking up at the burning embers.

Event date and time schedules

<Date and start time>
March 1st-11th: 19:00 (20min.)
March 12th: 19:30 (45min.)
March 13th: 19:00 (20min.)
March 14th: 18:30 (10min.)
From the 1st day of Omizutori to March 11th, Otaimatsu will be 20 minutes long and each torch will be brought up to the balcony one by one. On the last day, March 14th, the event only lasts for 10 minutes, all 10 torches will be brought up to the balcony at the same time which makes for a spectacular sight.
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