Flames Spread over Mt. Wakakusa in Nara During Festival to Pray for Ancestors’ Souls and Peaceful Life; Viewers Gaze at Red Sky and Moon Above Kofukuji Temple

The Yomiuri Shimbun
This composite image of 24 photos taken from 5:45 p.m. to 7:32 p.m. shows the fireworks and grass burning in Nara on Saturday, with the five-story pagoda of Kofukuji Temple seen in the foreground left.

NARA — A traditional grass-burning event, in which participants pray for the repose of their ancestors’ souls and for peaceful lives, was held on Mt. Wakakusa in Nara on Saturday evening.

At the sound of shell horns blowing after a fireworks display, about 300 people carrying torches lit a grassy area at the foot of the mountain simultaneously.

Last year, snowfall caused the flames not to spread as planned, but this year they successfully burned over the surface of the 33-hectare mountain, illuminating the five-story pagoda of Kofukuji Temple, a national treasure located at the base of the mountain.

About 190,000 people watched the flames dye the sky and the moon red.

“I find it soothing to see the flickering flames spreading like waves,” said a 58-year-old company employee who visited the ancient city from Kashihara in the prefecture to see the event.