Use the

Planning a Trip to Japan?

Share your travel photos with us by hashtagging your images with #visitjapanjp

My Favorites

Festivals & Events

Mt. Wakakusa Yamayaki 若草山焼き

Yamayaki Yamayaki
Yamayaki Yamayaki

A centuries-old ritual that sets a mountain on fire

On the fourth Saturday of every January, the slopes of Mt. Wakakusa near Nara are set alight, with the resulting flames so big and bright that they can be seen from all over the city and from as far away as the former Heijo Palace .

This carefully planned and choreographed act of pyromania is known as Yamayaki (the burning mountain) and is part of a festival that has been carried out for centuries in Nara and involves several temples and shrines.

Don't Miss

  • The midday rice cracker-throwing competition with giant crackers
  • The fireworks display that precedes the burnoff
  • The flames visible from all over the city

How to Get There

While the area is quite far from Nara's major train stations, Mt. Wakakusa can easily be reached by bus or on foot.

It takes approximately 30 minutes to walk to Mt. Wakakusa from Kintetsu Nara Station, and 50 minutes from JR Nara Station.

Alternatively, take a bus to Kasuga Taisha from where torchbearers start their walk to the mountain and follow the procession.

Traditional music in the early evening

The festival's main procession starts with yamabushi dressed in period costumes, some blowing conch shells, and musicians playing traditional court music. Todaiji Temple, Kofukuji Temple , and Kasuga Taisha are all involved with the ceremonies of this event.

Picking up the torches

The festival itself begins at Kasuga Taisha Shrine , where holy men pick up torches. They light the torches with sacred fire near Mizuya Shrine before traveling up the mountain to light a giant bonfire prepared for the festival. Just after dark, many fireworks are sent aloft.

The sight of the white-robed torch carriers with their flaming torches hiking up the mountain and the fire slowly spreading across the grassy slopes, however, is the highlight of the event.

When the burning is finished, fire brigades from all over Nara help extinguish the flames.

The latest information may differ, so please check the official website

Near Mt. Wakakusa Yamayaki

Yamayaki Festivals & Events
Mt. Wakakusa Yamayaki Nara-shi, Nara-ken
kasugaokuyamatsukihi-teiryokan Luxury Stay
Mt. Kasuga-yama Area Nature
Mt. Kasuga Nara-shi, Nara-ken
Kasuga Taisha Shrine History
Kasuga Taisha Shrine Nara-shi, Nara-ken
Setsubun Mantoro Festivals & Events
Setsubun Mantoro Nara-shi, Nara-ken
Wisteria of Kasuga-taisha-SPR Festivals & Events
Kasuga Taisha Shrine Wisteria Nara-shi, Nara-ken

Please Choose Your Language

Browse the JNTO site in one of multiple languages