Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Kasuga Taisha (Grand) Shrine is Nara’s most celebrated Shinto shrine. Kasuga Taisha was also the shrine of the Fujiwara, Japan’s most powerful family clan during most of the Nara and Heian Periods. It is famous for its lanterns, which have been donated by worshipers. Hundreds of bronze lanterns can be found hanging from the buildings and many stone lanterns line the approaches to the shrine. The lanterns are only lit twice a year during two Lantern Festivals; one in early February and one in mid August.

Deer wander freely in and around the shrine and there are lots of great photo opportunities! A short walk from the main shrine complex is the Kasuga Taisha Shinen Manyo Botanical Garden. This garden displays many plants described in the Manyoshu, Japan’s oldest collection of poems which dates back to the Nara Period. A large part of this garden is dedicated to wisteria flowers which bloom from late April to early May.