December 25, 2013

Nara : Kasuga Taisha

Continuation from here...

Following suggested walking route on LP Japan that I brought along (thanks deers for eating my map!), I headed to Kasuga Taisha (Kasuga Grand Shrine).

Kasuga Taisha is one of Japan's foremost shrines. It was established in 768, at a time when Nara was designated as the capital of Japan. The shrine is associated with the Fujiwara clan, once the most powerful clan in Japan.

In 1998, it was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, as part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.

The shrine is nestled in the midst of woods. Loved the serenity of the area.

It is famous for its lanterns. There are thousands of stone lanterns along the path from the tori gate leading to the shrine and outside the shrine itself, and hundreds of bronze lanterns can be found hanging around the shrine's corridor. All those lanterns were contributed over the years by worshippers as tokens of faith and thankfulness.

Come here during the Lantern Festival in early February and mid August. All the lanterns would be lit up during those periods. It should be the best time to visit the shrine. Must be very beautiful!

The main entrance to the shrine is past this Temizu-ya with an image of a deer.

Then through the Minami-mon.

 dunno what this frog rock means

fortune shop inside

There is a pretty wisteria tree inside the shrine. However, it was not in bloom yet.

The wisteria flower is considered very important for the shrine cos the name Fujiwara could also be read as 'Wisteria field'. That's why all the mikos here wear wisteria in their hair.

Basically the shrine can be visited free of charge, but there's also a paid area. Not sure what's inside there cos I didn't go in. Peeped through the fences but I didn't see anything interesting inside. Well.. of course it's hidden kan. Nevermind la..

Kasuga Taisha is open all year round
Visiting hours is from 6 am to 6 pm (April to September) , 6.30 am to 5.30 pm (October to March)
Entrance is free of charge (500 yen for inner area)

Direction : From Kintetsu Nara station, the shrine is about 30 minute walk east

I continued walking around the shrine's ground. There are many smaller shrines around Kasuga Taisha. One is the nearby Wakamiya Shrine, an important cultural property. The deities enshrined here are a married couple, so prayers made here are mostly for happy marriage and fortune in matters of love.

love-shaped ema tablets

Other smaller shrines I don't know their names.

Waiting for their problems to dissolve in the water...

After a full circle, I was back to the main road. It was almost 2 pm by then, so I decided to walk back to the train station.

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