Wakakusayama Yaki

Wakakusayama Yaki (Mount Wakakusa Fire Festival)

January 15
This event, held near the Japanese city of Nara, is, along with Daimonji Okuribi, one of the ancient capital's most thrilling spectacles. It takes place on Mt. Wakakusa, a series of three smooth, round hills just over 1,000 feet high located east of the city. Fireworks are ignited, and at six o'clock in the evening, priests from the temples of Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji set fire to the dry grass on the slopes. The whole mountain turns into a flaming beacon that lights up the night sky and can be seen for miles.
Also known as the Mt. Wakakusa Dead Grass-Burning Event, the festival commemorates the historic burning of the hill 10 centuries ago during a friendly disagreement about the boundaries of the two major temples and a shrine in Nara. Kofuku-ji's five-story pagoda, built in the 8th century, is the second highest in all of Japan. The silhouette of this temple, seen against the fires on Mt. Wakakusa, is one of Japan's best-known images.
Nara Prefectural Government
30 Nobori-oji-cho
Nara, 630-8501 Japan
81-7-4222-1101; fax: 81-7-4227-4473
IllFestJapan-1993, p. 14
JapanFest-1965, p. 121
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.