The origin of "Mountain Burning Ceremony" was based on a ghost story. According to an old story, a ghost haunted around a small tomb on the top of the mountain and scared people. So, they decided to burn the entire mountain to console the ghost's spirit. Since then, every January Mt. Wakakusa Burning Ceremony has been held. In Japan fire is used for purification both in Shinto( indigenous religion of Japan) and Buddhism. This ceremony dates back to 1760.
I visited Heijo Palace Site, which was the center of Japan in 8th century, to enjoy viewing the ceremony. This year it was held on January 22nd.
In east, night started.
This structure is the reproduction of the ancient Imperial Audience Hall.
Six hundred fire works were set off and adorned the night sky.
The entire mountain was set ablaze.