“The Yamayaki, or burning ceremony, is held on the second Sunday of January each year at Mount Wakakusa. At 5.50pm fireworks shoot up into the sky and at 6pm the grass is ignited. The fire spreads until the hill is completely ablaze and the night sky turns back to day.
Kasuga Taisha’s Mantoro lantern festival, is held twice a year; on “”setsubun”” in early February and between August 14th and 15th. More than 1800 stone lanterns and some 1000 hanging lanterns are lit up and their subtle light illuminates the nearby pine forests and vermillion lacquered columns.
The Omizutori is held at Nigatsu-do in Todaiji Temple from March 1st to 14th with the climax on March 12th. During the period of the festival events using torches are held every night, and the “”kago-taimatsu”” event on the 12th is particularly attractive. Torches are paraded through the corridors of Nigatsu-do turning it into a stage of sorts with its fire shower raining down.
The Shika-no-tsunokiri (horn cutting (of the deer)) has an impressive 300-year history and is a popular autumnal event in Nara. Deer in Nara Park are thought to be divine messengers of the Kasuga Taisha Shrine and as stags shed their horns naturally in March and they start to grow again in May, October is the time they have become fully developed and thus potentially dangerous. For public safety therefore, the horns are reduced in length each October in a painless ceremony using a saw.
Nara Toukae is held between August 6th and 15th each year at venues illuminated by candles that create an atmosphere not felt during the daylight hours.”