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current event, wakakusa yamayaki, Japan,

The 2014 Wakakusa Yamayaki Festival (若草山焼き) Takes Place in Nara, Japan

To see more photos and videos of Wakakusa Yamayaki, browse the #山焼き hashtag and explore the 奈良公園 (Nara Park), 若草山 山頂 and 若草山 location pages.

On the fourth Saturday of January, the annual Wakakusa Yamayaki (若草山焼き), or “Roasting of Wakakusa Mountain” festival, takes place in Nara, Japan. As the name suggests, the festival is celebrated by setting fire to the dry grass of Wakakusa Mountain, creating a hill of fire. The event begins with a dazzling fireworks show, immediately followed by a lighting ceremony held at the foot of the mountain by Shinto priests. The spectacle of fire emitted from the top of the 342-meter (1,122-foot) mountain can be viewed throughout the city of Nara and from parts of neighboring cities. Many local and visiting Instagrammers gather to capture the fireworks and blazing hillside as the fire spreads throughout the mountain.

The tradition of Wakakusa Yamayaki is thought to have evolved over hundreds of years since it began before the Edo period (1603-1867 CE). Though the exact origin of the event is unclear, several theories exist. According to one theory, Todaiji (東大寺), Kofukuji (興福寺) and Kasuga Taisha (春日大社), the three great temples of Nara, started the hill burning as an act to calm the spirit of an ancient burial mound on the peak of the mountain. Another theory claims that the mountain was burned due to a boundary dispute between Todaiji and Kofukuji.


Wakakusa Yamayaki, current events,

Wakakusa Yamayaki (山焼き) Festival in Nara, Japan

See more photos of Wakakusa Yamayaki on the 奈良公園 (Nara Park), 若草山 山頂, and 若草山 location pages

Over the weekend, the annual Wakakusa Yamayaki (山焼き), or ‘mountain roast,’ took place in Nara, Japan. A group of Shinto priests starts the festival by carrying sacred fire to a shrine at the foot of Mount Wakakusa and igniting dead grass. A fire brigade stands by at all times, and onlookers from the city nearby are treated to a massive fireworks display as the hill catches fire. The tradition is over 400 years old, and it takes just under an hour for the fire to spread across the mountain.