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Akiyoshidai Yamayaki Mountain Burning

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Akiyoshidai Yamayaki Mountain Burning


A spring tradition that sees flames run through Japan’s largest karst plateau

Yamaguchi Prefecture



Yamayaki (“mountain burning”) is a tradition dating back over 600 years. Held every February, it signals the beginning of spring in Akiyoshidai Plateau. Akiyoshidai’s Yamayaki, which covers a vast area of over 2,700 acres, is one of the largest open burning in Japan.


On the morning of the Yamayaki, Akiyoshidai is set aflame at once following the sound of sirens. The sight of the flames and smoke reaching a height of 16 feet, the crackling sound it makes, and the powerful visual spectacle awe the many spectators that come to watch. Measures are taken to prevent the spread of the fire, but depending on the wind direction, there is a risk of being caught in the smoke. Therefore, approaching the burn site is strictly forbidden. Visitors and spectators present at the burning must follow the instructions of the people in charge. 


The purpose of this tradition is to maintain the unique landscape dotted with white limestone, to control pests, and to protect the ecosystem. By May, the burnt grasslands of Akiyoshidai will be covered with fresh greenery while preserving its ecosystem, thanks to the Yamayaki.


How to get there

From Shin-Osaka Station, take the Sanyo Shinkansen to Shin-Yamaguchi Station (2 hours). The site is a 30-minute drive from Shin-Yamaguchi Station.

Shin-Yamaguchi Station can also be reached from Hakata Station via the Shinkansen bullet train (35 minutes).


Akiyoshidai, Shuho-cho, Mine-shi, Yamaguchi-ken


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