Winter in Japan’s Kansai region could be a sufficient excuse for one of the world’s largest fireworks displays, but an entire mountain is set on fire in Nara. The reasons are historical: this event is arranged in memory of the quarrel between the monks of two Buddhist temples (Todaiji and Kofuku-ji), which occurred many centuries ago. The quarrel went so far that they set fire to the 342-meter Wakakusa. Today, in memory of the event in the Kasuga-taisha shrine, monks light a torch and solemnly carry it to the foot of Wakakusa.
The mountain is set on fire at 18.00, and the grass on its slopes usually burns for about 30 minutes, after which the fireworks show begins.
The average temperature in Nara in January is 8 ° C, so take warm clothes. The best views open from Narakoen Park on the east side of the city.
While you are there, take a look at the temples (Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji) – both are protected as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Todai-ji is considered to be the largest wooden building in the world. Kofuku-ji is the second tallest pagoda in Japan.
YOUR ADVENTURE: See the fiery battle
WHERE: Mount Wakakusa, Nara
DATES: The fourth Saturday of January (January 24 in 2015; in 2016 – January 23, in 2017 – January 28, in 2018 – January 27)