Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

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  • Minamimon Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Minamimon Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

  • Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Kasuga Taisha Shrine In Nara

  • Main Hall Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Main Hall Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

  • Sunazuri-no-fuji Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Sunazuri-no-fuji Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

  • Golden Lantern Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Lantern Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

  • Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

  • Osugi Sacred Cedar Tree of the Kasuga Taisha Shrine

    Osugi Sacred Cedar Tree of the Kasuga Taisha Shrine

  • Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

  • Kannushi at Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Kannushi at Kasuga Taisha Shrine

  • Kannushi at Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Kannushi At The Kasuga Taisha Shrine

  • Lanterns at Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Lanterns at Kasuga Taisha Shrine

  • Bronze Lanterns Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Bronze Lanterns Kasuga Taisha Shrine

  • Bronze Lanterns Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Bronze Lanterns Kasuga Taisha Shrine

  • Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Kasuga Taisha Shrine In Nara

  • Banners Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Banners Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

  • Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Kasuga Taisha Shrine In Nara

  • Cedar Trees Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara

    Cedar Trees Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara

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Facts & Figures

Kasuga Taisha Shrine (Kasuga Grand Shrine) in Nara is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 1998), a designated National Treasure and one of the most famous Shinto Shrines in Japan. It is also the head shrine for around 3000 Kasuga Shrines within Japan. Best Ryokans in NaraExplore Ryokans in Nara
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions.
One outstanding feature are the shrines more than 1000 bronze lanterns known as Mantoro donated by worshippers. The style of the architecture is called Kasuga-zukuri. It is characterized by a sloping roof extending over the front of the building.

  • Main shrine (Hon-den):
  • Opening Hours - 6:00 am to 6:00 pm (April to September)
  • Opening Hours - 6:30 am to 5:30 pm (rest of the year)
  • Admission fee - 500 yen (inner grounds), free (outer grounds)
  • Treasury Hall (Houmotsu-den):
  • Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (December to February)
  • Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (rest of the year)
  • Closed - on Mondays from December to February
  • Admission fee - 400 yen
  • Manyo Botanical Garden (Shin-en):
  • Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (December to February)
  • Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (rest of the year)
  • Closed - on Mondays from December to February
  • Admission fee - 500 yen

My tips for local activities

How about exploring the beautiful city Nara and its UNESCO World Heritage Sites with a local guide. Check out this page for more details.

History

The Fujiwara family, a powerful clan of regents during Nara (710 - 794) and Heian Periods (794 - 1185), established the shrine in 768. Four deities (gods) are enshrined at Kasuga Taisha. According to the Shinto concept of purity the Kasuga Taisha Shrine was rebuilt every two decades, like the Grand Shrine of Ise. This tradition stopped in 1863 (end of the Edo Period). From 1871 to 1946 Kasuga Taisha had the 1st rank status of a government supported shrine called Kanpei-taisha (Imperial shrine). In 1998 Kasuga Taisha received the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.

Location

Map of Japan

Kasuga Taisha Shrine is located in the eastern part of the Nara Park near Todaiji Temple and Kofukuji.
Address: 160 Kasugano-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

How to get to Kasuga Taisha Shrine?

  • 20min from Kintetsu Nara Station served by Nara and Kyoto Line
  • 40min from JR Nara Station served by Yamatoji, Nara, Gakkentoshi, Sakurai Line
  • 8min from Kintetsu Nara Station by bus to Kasuga Taisha Honden stop

Sightseeing spots at Kasuga Taisha Shrine complex

Top:

Honden (Main Hall) - The Honden is formed by 4 shrines standing in a row and has the status of a National Treasure. The 4 gods (Takamekazuchi-no-mikoto from Kashima of Ibaraki Prefecture, Futsunushi-no-mikoto from Katori of Chiba Prefecture, Amenokoyane-no-Mikoto and Himegami from Hiraoka of Osaka Prefecture) are enshrined here and protecting the Fujiwara family.

Treasure House (Kasuga Taisha Homotsukan) - It is housing the different shrine's relics like ornate taiko drums or bronze mirrors. We are talking here about hundreds of national treasure items from the Heian period (794 - 1185).

Kasuga Primeval Forest - The forrest is located behind the Kasuga Taisha Shrine and unfortunetly there is no access for the public.

Path to Kasuga Taisha Shrine - Appr. 2000 stone lanterns are located along the Kasuga Taisha path. The lanterns are only lit twice a year during the Mantoro Festivals (Setsubun and Obon) in February and August. You will see many deer motifs at the stone lanterns. Deer are in the Shinto religion viewed as messengers of the gods.

Auxiliary shrines - These small or miniature shrines, like Wakamiya Shrine or Meoto Daikokusha, are worth a visit. 12 shrines along the Kasuga Taisha path are dedicated to the "twelve lucky gods".

Shinen Manyo Botanical Garden - This beautiful place is also called Kasuga Taisha Garden. It was opened for the public in 1932 and covers an area of approx. 30000 square meters. The garden is split up in different sections like the Five Grain, Wisteria, Camellia and Iris Garden. You can discover there over 300 plant species. Btw the wisteria flower is the symbol of the Fujiwara clan because the name means "field of wisteria”. Adults have to pay 500 yen and children 250 yen for the entrance ticket.

Minamimon (South Gate) - The two-story vermilion gate with a height of 12m is a Important Cultural Property and the main entrance to the inner shrine complex.

Chumon Gate - The present gate was built in 1613 and is a Important Cultural Property.

Honsha-Osugi - The huge cedar tree with a height of 20m and circumference of over 8m is more than 1000 years old.

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

February

Setsubun Mantoro (2nd - 4th)
This is one of the best times to visit Kasuga Taisha. All of the 3000 shrine's lanterns are lit at once on the 3rd of February between 6:30 pm and 9:00 pm. This event has a history of more than 800 years.

March

Kasuga Matsuri (Monkey Festival) (13th)
This festival features gagaku ("elegant dance", performed since centuries at the Imperial court) and bugaku (classical Japanese dance of Chinese origin) dance performances.

August

Obon Mantoro (14th - 15th)
Similar to the Setsubun Mantoro in February all of the 3000 shrine's lanterns are lit at once between 6:30 pm and 9:00 pm.

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