Kasuga Taisha(春日大社), Nara

Kasuga Taisha is one of the most important Shito shrines of Nara prefecture. It is situated behind the Nara deer park. The shrine is built aside a forest with lots of varieties of trees. The forest named Kasugayama and the Kasuga shrine are listed among the World Heritage sites.

Stone pathways leading to Kasuga Taisha, Nara

The pathways to the shrine are stone paved with stone lanterns on both sides. We can see many small shrines here and there in this forest area. The most important peculiarity of this shrine is a large number of lanterns in and around the shrine. The shrine grounds and pathways have various shaped stone lanterns. Inside the shrine buildings, we can see bronze lanterns hung in rows. These are donated by the people.

A sub-shrine at Kasuga Taisha, Nara

Most of the shrine buildings are painted in attractive vermillion colour. The outer part of the shrine could be visited free of cost, but there is an entrance fee of 550 yen for entering inside the shrine complex. Inside the shrine complex, we can watch the architectural beauty of the shrine buildings and pray at the main hall of the shrine.

Corridor of Kasuga Taisha, Nara

Kasuga Grant shrine is dedicated to four Shinto gods who are protecting the area. There are twelve small shrines located around the main shrine building dedicated to twelve gods who help in twelve different situations. One among them is the most important one where people pray here for the wedding, finding the true partner etc. This shrine named Wakamiya Jinja is dedicated to a couple goddess. We can see Ema (plates with prayers to god) in the shape of heart hung at the Ema stand of the shrine.

Lanterns hung inside the Kasuga Taisha building
Lanterns hung inside the Kasuga Taisha building

The entire lanterns of the shrine and surroundings will be lighted during Setsubun (beginning of spring) of February and Obon (festival to honour ancestral spirits) of August. One of the most important peculiarities of this shrine is that the shrine is renewed every 20 years. The lord statues will be moved to a temporary hall during this time until the main hall renovation is completed. The rituals related to this shifting will be done during this time.

Lanterns around the Kasuga Taisha, Nara
Ema plates hung at Wakamiya shrine

There is a botanical garden near the shrine where a lot of plants and trees are preserved. This garden is famous for hundreds of years old Wisteria trees. Wisteria festival is conducted here during April-May.

Inside Kasuga Taisha, Nara

 

A huge tree at Kasuga Taisha, Nara
Lanterns around the Kasuga Taisha, Nara

There is a museum building near the shrine which keeps some of the historical relics of the shrine.

Entrance of Kasuga Taisha, Nara

The Kasugayama forest is the habitat of freely roaming deer of Nara park. They are considered as the messengers of the Shinto gods.