Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 61 (Back cover)

New Japanese Railway Scenery 21
JR West Nara Line

Nara Line connects Kyoto with Kizu on Kansai main line running in western Japan.
Most trains run to Nara, to facilitate access to the ancient capital. The line was partially opened between Kyoto and Fushimi by Nara Railway Company in 1895.
In 1905, Nara Railway transferred the line to Kansai Railway Company, which was nationalized in 1907. The line was electrified in 1984. Following the privatization of JNR in 1987, the line is now owned and operated by JR West. Since 1994, the line has been going through extensive revitalization, including construction of new stations and double-tracking.

Mt.Wakakusa Fire Festival

Mt. Wakakusa Fire Festival is held every January in the ancient capital, Nara, located 30 km east of Osaka and 35 km south of Kyoto. There are multiple theories on the origin of the festival, including one which states that it began as wood cutters’ festival to appease the spirit of the dead, and another which indicates that the festival was based on the belief that there will be a misfortune if the mountain was not burned within December or January. Currently, the festival is held as a means to ward off fire, and is also seen as a source of tourism.

Photo: Series 103 running in the JR West Nara Line (JR West)
Mt. Wakakusa Fire Festival (Nara City Tourist Association)