Mar 012013
Sagicho Matsuri - fire festival in Omihachiman

Sagicho Matsuri in Omi-Hachiman City dates back to medieval times. It is said that Oda Nobunaga (a powerful warlord who ruled Japan in 16th century) enjoyed this festival himself.

It is one of the most crazy Japanese festivals requiring laborious preparations of the decorations only to burn them in one evening.

Feb 032013
Setsubun – more burning in Nara

Charms sold in shrines and temples have their “best before” date. And much like cheese or meat, if charms pass that mark, they might start to stink. Not literally, but they might turn into the source of bad luck.

So you have to dispose them somehow…

Jan 222013
Nara's burning (Wakakusa Yamayaki)

There is a hill in Nara, where a nice grove could grow. It might give shelter to the deers, birds, and human beings in hot summer days.

It might… if not some crazy Buddhist monks and Shinto priests burning it to the ground every year in January.

As a result, only grass grows on the hill, and that’s why it is called Wakakusa-yama (若草山) – a Young Grass Mountain.