Mount Wakakusayama (若草山) is a beautiful landmark in Eastern Nara Park, to the right of Todaiji Temple (東大寺). It’s also just above famous Kasuga Taisha shrine, so it’s in a perfectly convenient position to visit. Wakakusayama shares similarities with the mountain at Fushimi Inari Taisha (稲荷) in Kyoto (京都) because they both offer amazing views of their respective cities.
At 350 meters, Wakakusayama is not as tall and steep as the Kyoto counterpart, but it’s still one of the best views of Nara (奈良) you can get. The smaller height is advantageous for people who cannot hike that long as you can reach the first major observation plateau after only 15-20 minutes of walking.
An additional 20-30-minute hike gets you all the way to the top if you’re eager enough and want to have the best possible view. It also gets less crowded here, as many people stop at the first plateau.
Wakakusayama is open all year except winter due to weather conditions. Unfortunately, it is not a free public area like Fushimi Inari and is subject to a small entrance fee as well as opening hours (more info down below).
An eventful mountain
While you cannot hike the mountain in January, you can still witness an annual event that is called Wakakusa Yamayaki. During this event, Wakakusayama’s slopes are literally put on fire and create scary yet breathtaking imagery. It is not certain where this tradition originates from, maybe it was some kind of ritual or religious practice back in the day.
And that’s it for Wakakusayama! Info on entrance fees and opening hours as well as access is down below.
I hope you enjoyed this short article about yet another Nara highlight!
See you there!
Opening Hours & Admission Fee
- Opened every day from 9:00 – 17:00
- Closed from Mid-December to late March, open for the rest of the year
- Entrance fee is 150 Yen (1,24€/$1.39; exchange rates as of June 2019)
How to get to Wakakusayama
Wakakusayama lies in eastern Nara Park, pretty much in the vicinity of Todaji Temple. You can follow the same access information for that one. Either take a pleasant walk from JR or Kintetsu Nara Station (50/35 minutes respectively) or take a bus that leads all the way up to Kasuga Taisha which lies to the south of the mountain.