Lanterns at the Todai-Ji Great Hall in Nara, on Obon
Haiku Japan Japan in Haiku Travel

Japan in Haiku 17: Spirit of Obon

Spirit of Obon

Tonight you glow bright.
Secure in our thoughts,
you drift downstream, to your world.

Across many parts of Japan for three days each year families come together to celebrate Obon. It is believed that during this annual Buddhist festival, ancestral spirits return to this world to visit their living relatives. On the last day of Obon, family members float lanterns in rivers, lakes and seas to guide the spirits back home again.

Outside the Todai-Ji Great Hall in Nara, which houses one of Japan’s most imposing bronze Buddhas, we find lanterns being prepared and inscribed. It is a beautiful and thought provoking sight, so many paper thin memorials, lined up and waiting for dusk to fall. We have no lantern for our own relatives who have passed from this life, but they are in our thoughts.

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the creative force and chief poet in residence of poetinmotion.org She is available for residencies, as a conference poet and wedding poet. She is also co-founder of The Family Adventure Project and a regular contributor to many online travel communities.

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About Author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the creative force and chief poet in residence of poetinmotion.org She is available for residencies, as a conference poet and wedding poet. She is also co-founder of The Family Adventure Project and a regular contributor to many online travel communities.

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