山焼き (Yama Yaki)

“Burnt mountain.” Every year, many gather in Nara city to witness a peculiar event that has been going on for as long as people can remember: the setting ablaze of  Wakakusa mountain (若草山). Like most traditions that have been going on for as long as people can remember, there is dispute as to the symbolism of why this event is carried out, so nobody really knows for sure why this is done, but  the excitement of watching an entire mountain get set ablaze is justification enough in my book!

It felt like something designed for a heavy metal video. I was disappointed at the lack of metalheads and loud music.

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There were fireworks, too!

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“Fireworks” in Japanese is “hanabi” (花火), which means “fire flowers.” Very cool.

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This one’s of a Nara deer! Can you see it? (Hint: red nose, green eyes, white antlers)

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