Men on fire and deer poop.

DSC_0433cJapan is famous for its spectacular festivals, which are essential parts of strong, well-rooted traditions. The Fire Festival was the main reason why we chose NARA as our very first destination. The mystery around this event mixed with the fine festive atmosphere gives the audience show and fun they came for.

Here is a bit of explanation I found:

The Wakakusa Yamayaki is an annual festival during which the grass on the hillside of Nara’s Mount Wakakusayama is set on fire. The mountain is located at the eastern end of Nara Park, and when it is set alight it can be seen throughout the city. The burning of the mountain itself is preceded by a fireworks display. The festival takes places every year on the fourth Saturday in January.

The Wakakusa Yamayaki has been taking place for hundreds of years and its precise origins are unclear. One theory claims that the burning of the mountainside began during boundary conflicts between Nara’s greattemples, while another claims the fires were used to drive away wild boars.

DSC_0303cMount Wakakusayama before and after the festival.DSC_0552cDSC_0320cLocal Police and Fire fighters wait for the sunset (above).

Representatives of local monasteries take part in the procession, which precedes a really long prayer and setting the hill on fire (below).DSC_0348cDSC_0377cDSC_0443c

15 minutes of fireworks are followed by setting the hill on fire, which lasts around half an hour. In the mean time the artistic program kicks off.

DSC_0560ccMost of all Nara is famous for its 1500 DEERS, which wonder around and pose for pictures. Local gift shops are full of objects, which either have something to do with horns or fur. Sweets, called ‘deer poop’, can be found in all different sizes and flavors. Enjoy ;) IMG_2399DSC_0556ccThe local deers know their ways with girls ;)

DSC_0540cMy favorite afternoon snack- Matcha Latte (above) and Matcha cookies (below). DSC_0507c

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