What Do you imagine when you hear “Nara”?
Most of people would imagine deers or buddha even they are Japanese.
In fact, I also imagine so until February in 2019.
When I was on the way to return to Kyoto from Nara by Kintetsu Line, fire works and the mountain which was burning come into my sight.
That made me surprised because in Japan, fire works festivals are generally held in summer night and literary the mountain was burning.
Hotels and Restaulants to See Fireworks in Nara
Mt.Wakakusa is near Todai-ji Temple and Nara Station of Kintetsu line.
Basically, you can see from everywhere around Nara Station.
Good place is for example, Nara Park where it takes 20 minutes on foot from Kintetsu Nara Station and 10 minutes by bus.
Since food stalls are in the park, you can enjoy both view and foods.
Reservation is available in L’Orchestrata.
It’s held on the fourth Saturday of January every year.
Note that it won’t be held if the weather is bad such as rainy weather or snowfall on the day.
In such case, the schedule may be postponed or canceled to the next day.
Fire works ans mountain burning begins as follows.
18:15：Fireworks will be launched.
18:30：The mountain is ignited and the mountain burning starts.
Why Do They Burn Mt.Wakakusa
It is said that Mt.Wakakusa burning began from Edo era(around 1700).
There are some theories why they burn Mt.Wakakusa.
To Calm the Soul of Tomb
One is that to calm the soul of the Uguisuzuka Tomb on the summit of Mt.Wakakusa.
Japan used to have a habit to bury the king or person who had power on the summit in the region.
People had been burning Mt.Wakakusa in every year as a ceremony.
So it can be thought that burning Mt.Wakakusa used to be like a memorial ceremony of Hiroshima which is held every year to commemorate.
It was believed that cow-demon would come if Mt.Wakakusa wasn’t burned.
This legend was found in the ”Nanto annual event” written by a Murai Furumichi a doctor in 1740.
Since people near the Mt.Wakakusa were afraid of attacking by cow-demon, it they began to burn the mountain.
But, it’s not sure why burning the mountain prevents attack by cow-demon.
Meaning of Lunching Fire Works
Fire works was originally lunched for a signal to ignite mountain.
So, the number of fire works was not so a lot before.
But, now its meaning is currently including tourism festival and the number of fire work lunched is more than 600.
Note that since fire works are lunched first, you can’t take photo of mountain burning and fire works at the same time.
Now It’s Festival for Tourism
In 1900, Mt.Wakakusa Burn of the purpose began to change.
It is said that Mt.Wakakusa was burned in daytime, but now mountain is burned at night.
So, Mt.Wakakusa Burn turned into festival for sightseeing purpose.
In a sense, it’s interesting that although the event and what people do hasn’t been changed, the purpose is different.
Searching what the festival means is hard to make sense now, but is interesting.