Bell rings 108 times, Kyoto’s most famous New Year’s event
On December 31st, New Year’s Eve, the annual Joya no Kane event is held at temples in Japan. At this event, temple bells will be tolled 108 times—starting on the 31st and continuing over the course of an entire day. The number 108 represents the number of earthly desires that afflict and pain the human heart, and it is said that these earthly desires vanish one after another upon hearing each the Joya no Kane’s event’s 108 rings. By doing so, we will be purified as we start the new year. As it home to many temples, many places in Kyoto hold Joya no Kane events. However, the most famous one is held at Chion-in.
At Chion-in, 17 monks can be seen working together to ring a massive, three-meter tall bell. As many visitors show up on the day to catch a glimpse of the powerful bell ringers, Joya no Kane could even be considered a winter attraction in Kyoto. We highly recommend starting a refreshing new year with the sound of low ringing bells.