Looks like it could be a busy night ahead for the Japanese fire brigade!
When: 4th saturday in January, 28th January 2012, 26th January 2013 .
Where: Mount Wakakusa, Nara City, Japan.
Wakakusa Yamayaki is a grass-burning ceremony held on Mount Wakakusa located east of Nara Park, Nara City, Japan. This fiery event begins at the sound of a trumpet blowing, when the 33 hectares of moorland at Wakakusayama burst into flames.
The sacred fire at Kasuga Taisha Shrine is carried down to a small shrine at the foot of the hill by a procession of Buddhist monks. The hill is ignited with the sacred fire and burns fiercely amid fireworks lighting up the chilly night skies above. This fire spectacle can be seen from the surrounding towns, but Nara city offers the most beautiful views as the city faces the hill.
There is some debate over the true origins f the event. Some say it dates back to a 1,000 year old boundary dispute between two of Nara’s temples, Kofuku-ji Temple and Todai-ji Temple. The boundary dispute got out of hand and Mt. Wakakusayama, the very center of the conflict, was set ablaze. According to other explanations, the mountain was burned to drive away wild boars or to exterminate harmful insects, even drive out goblins!
The tradition dates back hundreds of years and usually takes place every fourth Saturday in January (however it can occasionally be postponed due to bad weather so check with other sources before you go). The hill on Mt. Wakakusa is set on fire at 6:15 p.m after the special firework display at 6 p.m. The grass burning is usually takes around an hour.
Have you been to Wakakusayama Yamayaki Fire Festival yourself? If so, please tell us all about it! You can share your pics and videos on our facebook page too! Or if you just want to say hi, or leave a comment for any other reason, we’d love to hear from you.
Sekihan rice is often served on special occasions, holidays and festivals in Japan. Its red colour is considered the colour of happiness. Try our Sekihan recipe. Drink warm Sake.
Travel to Japan
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