On Gion’s outskirts, we were able to see (and ring) a very special bell. It was built many, many years ago by a man who claimed this his bell could be heard by those in the afterlife. One day, the man left Japan to go to China and had his men bury the bell, because it was too powerful for any person to use, aside from him. While he was away, his men dug the bell up and rang it (curiosity bested them). When the man returned from China, his bell had been re-buried, but he told his men that he knew they had dug it up and rang it. They asked him how he could have known this, and he responded, “I told you that this bell can be heard in the afterlife. If that is true, how could I not hear it in China?”
Years later, this same bell is used in an annual festival where people ring it and think of a loved one who has passed on, and they will come back to the earth for one day.