The Kasuga Taisha shrine in Nara is especially known for the many lanterns that can be found on the grounds. There are stone lanterns lining the road to the shrine, and bronze lanterns hang from the shrine’s buildings. What’s the history of the shrine and the meaning of the lanterns?
Kasuga Taisha History
The Kasuga Taisha shrine was founded in the 8th century by the Fujiwara family. It used to be completely rebuilt every 20 years, according to Shinto tradition. This happened until the end of the 14th century. The meaning of this tradition is to keep the place where Kami or Shinto gods live clean and fresh. The shrine is located at the foot of the hill in a pleasant and lush environment. This area is populated by herds of sacred deer waiting for someone to feed them.
The entrances to the sanctuary are flanked by thousands of stone lanterns. And there are also many bronze lanterns hanging lanterns in the sanctuary itself. All the lanterns have been donated by well-wishers of the shrine. The festival of the lanterns, which is held in August during Obon, is very popular. All the lanterns are lit at night which creates a beautiful atmosphere. In 1998, the shrine was designated as a World Heritage Site.
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Kasuga Taisha Access Information
From Kasugataisha-Honden or Kasugataisha-Omotesando bus stop
Main Sanctuary: 500 yen
(You can walk freely except the Main Sanctuary)
March to October: From 6.30 am to 5.30 pm
From November to February: From 7 am to 5 pm