Though rooted in sorrow, it's a stunning summer festival.
- Happening yearly in September.
Despite this bittersweet premise, the culmination of the festival is a brilliant sight.
The festivities begin at 5 p.m., when a procession of locals in period attire set off from Nara station towards Sarusawa Pond, alongside dancers and traditional musicians. A memorial is then held at Uneme Shrine, on the banks of the lake. The shrine is said to have been originally built facing the pond. However, unable to bear looking at the location of the court maid’s suicide, it turned itself around overnight into its current position looking north.
What burning Mt is nearby?
Photo by: Dennis Crabtree
Even if you can’t make it on the day of the festival, Sarusawa Pond is worth a visit if you’re traveling to Nara. A man-made lake created in 749, its tranquil atmosphere and central location make it a popular stop on a day of sightseeing. There are benches where you can sit and relax while watching the resident ducks and turtles, and enjoy the view of the five-storied pagoda at the nearby Kōfuku-ji Temple.
Mount Wakakusa is also worth visiting for an easy hike and fantastic view out over the city.
Take the time to head to this beautiful festival in Nara during your autumn travels in Japan.