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Wakakusa Yamayaki Cultural

Nara, Japan

The name of the festival literally translates as ÔThe Mountain RoastÕ and is where on the 4th Saturday in January each year, the dead grass on the hillside of Mount Wakakusayama is set ablaze Ð but until after one epic fireworks display. There are two theories of the evolution of the festival. The first claims that the burning of the mountainside began during boundary conflicts between NaraÕs great temples (T_dai-ji and K_fuku-ji), while another claims the fires were used to drive away wild boars. Once set ablaze the mountain can burn for up to an hour and because of the mountains elevation it can be seen from anywhere in the city.

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