Charm against Fire

Since the Edo period, the people of Kyoto have been very conscious of the dangers of fire. We can still often see fire-prevention activities in the neighborhoods of the city. It is said that Kyoto had a fewer number of fires compared to Edo (the current-day Tokyo). These protective talismans from Atago Shrine, which enshrines the deity that was said to ward off fire, were often found on the walls of homes near the kitchen hearth. Even now, the talismans are often found in modern-day kitchens of houses and restaurants. The Atago Shrine is located on top of Atago Mountain to the Northwest of Kyoto, and the people of Kyoto endearingly called it “Atago-san.”