Yamayaki- the annual festival

Yamayaki is an annual festival on Mount Wakakusayama (an extinct volcano) has a height of 350 meters which is located in Nara prefecture. The mount is generally covered up with long grass and other wild plants which makes the mount green from far, but as winter comes it starts converting the colour from green to grey, it is belevied that this is the right time for the festival.

Every year the festival I celebrated on 4th Saturday of January but sometimes it is delayed due to bad weather condition. The festival starts with lots of fireworks, the whole city can see the mesmerising combination of colours on the sky. There are some temples which involve in the celebration of this annual festival such as Todaiji Temple, Kofukuji Temple and Kasuga shrine participate in the ceremonies. This festival has been celebrating from hundreds of years, many believe that setting mountain on fire makes wild boars away from the farm and places near mountains. And some other believe that this festival begins during boundary conflicts between temples in Nara.

The festival starts at noon with small events which take place at the foothills of Wakakusayama. One of the most interesting events is throwing competition. In which rice crackers (sembei) are thrown which takes place around 12:30 to 15:00. Many Travelers joins in this competition, the rice crackers can be purchased throughout Nara Park as food for the wild animal special for deers.

After every small event finished the procession of people starts towards the mountain. At first, the procession stops at Mizuya Shrine in order to light up the torches. The procession will reach the foothills of the mountain where hundreds of visitors are waiting for them to come and start the celebration. After that, the firework display starts and last for around 15 minutes. After that, the mountain is set on fire and it takes 30 minutes to 1 hour to burn entire grass to burn depending on the grass condition. The entire celebration can be easily visible from the entire city.

So next comes how to reach Wakakusayama, it is located near to Todaji Temple and Kasuga Taisha you can take a walk around 10-15 minutes then you can reach the mountain. You can also take a walk from Kintetsu Nara station it takes around 35 minutes. There are bus services also from the station which takes around 220 yen.