Mt. Wakakusa (a mountain in Nara City, Nara Prefecture) (若草山)

Mt. Wakakusa is a mountain located in the eastern edge of Nara Park in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, and it is 342 meters high and with an area of 33 hectares. Because three mountains looked overlapped, it is called Mikasa-yama or Mikasa no yama (mountains with three shades).

In the past, Mikasa-yama was its formal name.


When the Mikasanomiya Imperial Household was established and took its name from the mountain in 1935, to humble it and show respect for the Mikasanomiya Imperial Household, it was renamed Mt. Wakakusa after mountain burning. Mikasa City, Hokkaido was named after another mountain of the same name which had been named after this Mt. Wakakusa. For your information, 'Mikasa no yama' (Mt. Mikasa) referred in ABE no Nakamaro's waka (a traditional Japanese poem of 31 syllables), 'Amanohara Furisake mireba Kasuga naru Mikasa no yama ni Ideshi Tsuki kamo' (Gazing across the vast extension of the sea, I see the same moon that rose over the hill of Mikasa in Kasuga) is a different from this mountain. The mountain referred in ABE no Nakamaro's waka is Kasugayama Primeval Forest is on the south side of Mt. Wakakusa (Mikasa-yama, 三笠山 in Chinese characters), and Mt. Kasuga has another name, 'Mikasa-yama' using different Chinese characters as 御蓋山. As it is mentioned in the article of Nara Shinbun Newspaper, these two mountains are often mixed up. By the way, the flagship used in the Naval battle of Japan sea at the time of Russo-Japanese War, the battleship 'Mikasa,' was named after this mountain.

It is uncertain, but is said that the mountain burning held in every January began when a dispute over territories between Todai-ji Temple and Kofuku-ji Temple occurred in 1760. On the mountain top, there is Uguisuzuka-kofun Tumulus, which is said to be the tomb of Iwanohime no mikoto, the empress of Emperor Nintoku. The mountain is opened in the spring and autumn seasons.

The town lights of Nara at night which are viewed from the top of Mt. Wakakusa are a very good view although they are less than those of a big city. It is acknowledged as one of new three major night views of Japan. On sunny nights, many lovers visit the mountain. The access to the top of Mt. Wakakusa by car is restricted to the use of Nara Okuyama Toll Road (New Mt. Wakakusa course: 510 yen, free of charge after 22 pm). The access to the mountain top is possible at any time, excluding before the mountain burning, and sprouting time (inquiry to Nara Okuyama Toll Road is needed). The entrance fee, which was mentioned earlier, is not charged in this case.

As located next to Nara Park, Mt. Wakakusa has many dears, too.

In Kansai region, dorayaki (Japanese dessert consisting of two slices of kasutera [sponge cake] with red bean jam in between) is called 'Mikasa Manju' (bun stuffed with azuki-bean paste), or 'Mikasa yaki' as the shape of dorayaki is similar to that of Mt. Mikasa. Some shops sell big 'Mikasa yaki' as the special food of Nara Prefecture.

The period when the mountain is opened

Spring in 2008: March 15 (Saturday) to June 15 (Sunday); Autumn: September 13 to November 24

Information of Nearby spot

Todai-ji Temple

Kasuga-taisha Shrine

Kofuku-ji Temple


Nara kita machi

[Original Japanese]