Well, I didn’t expect to go to a festival this early into my stay in Japan, but it was definitely worth it! There had only been one orientation meeting for the day, we had the rest of the day off. While there was a group of us that planned on going to Osaka that afternoon, we then heard that there was going to be a fire festival, known as Wakakusa Yamayaki. Intrigued, we asked someone what the festival was. Our response was that they set the side of the mountain on fire (controlled of course). That was all I needed to hear, and before I knew it, we were walking to Hirakata station on our way to Nara.
Of course, we ended up making a wrong turn, not realizing that there was a park with the same name in Osaka, too. But all was well, we back-tracked to Osaka station and then got on the correct train toward Nara.
Some of us were hungry by the time we got to Nara, so some of us found a place to eat while other’s made their way to the park. On our hunt for food, we ended up finding the little noodle shop. The food was awesome and I juts barely managed to finish the meal of kitsune udon and rice.
While we did get some rain while we were there, the fireworks and grass-burning ended up going as planned. The fireworks show lasted for fifteen minutes, followed by the grass-burning. This festival was actually a lot of fun, even if we did get to the festival after a lot of the other activities had ended. If I’m ever back in Japan at the end of January, I’ll definitely stop by again. Unfurtunately, we had to leave before the fire got too big in order to make it back to the dorms before the house parents closed the gates.
The atmosphere was so lively, with people laughing and having a good time and colorful booths lining the walkways. The food at the festival was really good! I can’t wait to try more food at the next festival that I can make it to!