Image copyrights belong to authors
Why Wakakusa Hill is special ?
Wakakusayama (Mount Wakakusa) is a mountain located to the east of Todaiji temple.
The old name is Mikasayama (Mount Mikasa).
The height is 342 meters, and the peak is located only about 1 km east of the temple grounds of Todaiji.
The mountain is very gentle, and it is like a hill.
The area of the mountain covers 33 hectare, and the whole area is covered with grass.
The grass burning event held in late January is very famous.
The observatory on the top of the mountain is a nice vantage point.
Especially, the night scene is very popular.
Around the top, there is Uguisuzuka ancient burial mound.
A toll road leads to there from around Shosoin.
What to explore at Wakakusa Hill?
The grassy slope of the mountain is lined by cherry trees that are usually in full bloom around early April. A steep trail leads along the leftmost edge of the slope to a plateau halfway up the mountain with great views over the city. It takes about 15-20 minutes to reach the plateau and many people do not hike farther. An additional 20-30 minutes would get you to the mountain's peak.
Every winter on the fourth Saturday of January, Mount Wakakusayama's slopes are burned during the spectacular Wakakusa Yamayaki. The origins of the event are unclear. One theory claims that it resulted from a boundary dispute, while another claims the fires were used to drive away wild boars. The burning of the mountain is preceded by a short fireworks display.
How to get to Wakakusa Hill?
The base of Wakakusayama is located about a 10-15 minute walk from both Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha. The mountain can also be reached on foot from Kintetsu Nara Station in about 35 minutes or from JR Nara Station in about 50 minutes. Buses run from either station as far as Kasuga Taisha (190 yen).
- Beautiful view over whole Nara
- A great walk & amazing view over Nara
- Take the long trip around the forest
- Private slope above Nara Park
- Beautiful in autumn
Nara, Nara Prefecture
Tips for you
If you have spent a good chunk of the morning tramping about Nara, Todaiji and Nara Park, get yourself small take away meal and make the trek up Wakakusa yama. Have a seat on the ground, watch the deer, enjoy the view over Nara city, and relax.