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Photo at night of fireworks exploding over a large burning area of a mountain
Once a year, amid great celebration, Wakakusayama mountain is set ablaze.
Photo Courtesy of Wakakusa Yamayaki Guide.
Wakakusayama Mountain Burning (Nara City, Nara)
The Wakakusayama Mountain Burning is a New Year ritual in the old capital city of Nara. Each year, on a night in mid-January, as the sun sets, fireworks rise into the sky above Nara and the sound of trumpets echo. This is the signal and the mountain turf is ignited. The vigorous fire burning on the face of the mountain with pagodas and temples silhouetted against it, combines with the beautiful fireworks to produce magnificent, fantastical scenery. Wakakusayama is a small mountain approximately 340 meters tall adjacent to the famous, time-honored temples of Tōdaiji and Kōfukuji. Because the area is usually used by grazing deer, it is fenced off before the blaze. On this day, members of fire fighting units are positioned in various places to regulate the force of the fire to ensure that no problems occur. There are different opinions concerning the origin of the Wakakusayama Mountain Burning and nothing is known for sure about how it started.
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