UniquenessThe sunset watched here, how different is it from the others?
VisibilityIs the sunset likely to be seen from the location?
AccessibilityHow easy is it to get to the location? ("-" means the location cannot be revisited at will)
CrowdHow busy is the location? ("-" means the location has no public access or I was on the move)
OverallIs this location worth a sunset visit?
Mount Wakakusayama is the grass covered mountain behind Nara Park, located between Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Shrine. The mountain is about 350 meters tall and affords unobstructed views over Nara City. Tourists are allowed to climb Mount Wakakusayama all year round except during winter. A small entrance fee is charged.
The grassy slope of the mountain is lined by cherry trees that are usually in full bloom around early April. A steep trail leads along the leftmost edge of the slope to a plateau halfway up the mountain with great views over the city. It takes about 15-20 minutes to reach the plateau and many people do not hike farther. An additional 20-30 minutes would get you to the mountain’s peak.
Every winter on the fourth Saturday of January, Mount Wakakusayama’s slopes are burned during the spectacular Wakakusa Yamayaki. The origins of the event are unclear. One theory claims that it resulted from a boundary dispute, while another claims the fires were used to drive away wild boars. The burning of the mountain is preceded by a short fireworks display.
- Although the mountain looks ordinary, the deer add a lot of color to the place. It is way better to come here to play with the deer than doing so at the Nara Park.
- Extremely great view of the sunset.
- It is best to get here by driving as there is a car park at the peak. The base of Wakakusayama is located about a 10-15 minute walk from both Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha. The mountain can also be reached on foot from Kintetsu Nara Station in about 35 minutes or from JR Nara Station in about 50 minutes. Buses run from either station as far as Kasuga Taisha (220 yen). Please note that there is an admission fee of 150 yen, and the area is closed for visit after 17:00 (but once you are up there, you can stay as long as you like). The mountain is also closed from mid December to late March during the winter.
- Normally there are only a dozen of visitors at the peak, so you won’t have to worry about crowds. There are probably more deer than human up there.
Location of the Sunset