Kurama Himatsuri or Fire Festival, which takes place towards the end of October every year just to the north of Kyoto. We went there by train, and as with the Lewes festival the trains and the streets were packed. The origins of the festival were to light the way for the spirits of the dead but my guess is, like a lot of these autumn festivals, it was a way of marking the approach of winter. To start fires are lighted in front of homes and children dressed in traditional clothing march up and down carrying small lighted torches. As the evening progresses the men follow dressed in traditional costume which leaves their bottoms naked to the air (not a pretty sight!). They march up and down chanting and marching to the rhythms of drums, carrying larger and larger torches. Finally they march up the hill to the shrine and then seem to roll themselves down! In many ways it is just like Lewes!