Attraction 160 Kasuganocho Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8212 Japan Published on: 29-06-2016
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Why Kasuga Grand Shrine is special ?
Kasuga Taisha Shrine also known as the Kasuga Grand Shrine is a very significant Shinto Shrine as it is the head shrine of the approximately 3,000 Kasuga Shrines spread throughout Japan. In 1998 Kasuga Taisha Shrine was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site as part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara" listing.
Kasuga Taisha Shrine was originally established in 768, however the buildings have been reconstructed several times since then. Kasuga Taisha Shrine is the shrine of the famous and once powerful Fujiwara clan.
Kasuga Taisha Shrine is famous for its 1,000 hanging lanterns in the shine main precinct.
Kasuga Taisha Shrine is also famous for its 2,000 stone lanterns outside the main shrine precinct and along the path leading to the shrine.
What to explore at Kasuga Grand Shrine?
There are many smaller auxiliary shrines in the woods around Kasuga Taisha, twelve of which are located along a path past the main shrine complex and are dedicated to the twelve lucky gods. Among them are Wakamiya Shrine, an important cultural property known for its dance festival, and Meoto Daikokusha, which enshrines married deities and is said to be fortuitous to matchmaking and marriage.
Located a short walk from the Kasuga Shrine main complex is the Kasuga Taisha Shinen Manyo Botanical Garden. This garden displays about 250 kinds of plants described in the Manyoshu, Japan's oldest collection of poems which dates to the Nara Period. A large part of the garden is dedicated to wisteria flowers which usually bloom from late April to early May.
The shrine grounds also contain a Treasure House near the main complex which displays the shrine's relics. These include two sets of large ornate drums. Additionally, the Kasuga Primeval Forest, a sacred old-growth forest belonging to the shrine, covers the mountain behind Kasuga Taisha, however, it is closed to the public.
How to get to Kasuga Grand Shrine?
Kasuga Taisha is located in the east of Nara Park. It is about a 30 minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, or a 45 minute walk from JR Nara Station. Alternatively, it can be reached by bus from either station. Get off at the Kasuga Taisha Honden bus stop (190 yen, frequent departures).
- Shrine of 3000 lanterns
- Beautiful Lanterns in a Beautiful Temple
- Light the Lanterns
- Worth the walk for sure
- Nice temple in Nara Park
160 Kasuganocho Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8212 Japan
Tips for you
Further 15 min walk after the magnificent Todai ji Temple takes you to the best Shinto Shrine of Nara, the Kasuga. You'll notice that you're approaching it when you spot thousands of stone and bronze lanterns all around you. These were donated by people from all over Japan. The Shrine itself looks like any other, but those lanterns make it special.