Kasuga-taisha shrine [春日大社]
Ichi-no-Torii of Kasuga-taisha
Chumon, Orou of Kasuga-taisha
Photo by Railstation.net
Kasuga-taisha is a Shinto shrine, and is located about 1.2 km southeast of Todaiji temple.
This shrine is one of 9 constructions of "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara" designated as a World Heritage Site.
This shrine was founded in 768, and it has been the main shrine in this area.
The formal approach to the shrine starts from near Kofukuji temple the center of Nara Park.
There is Ichi-no-Torii gate (一之鳥居).
The approach is about 1.2 km long and expands to the east.
Anout 2,000 stone lanterns are along the approach.
At the end of the approach, there is Shikafuse-temizusho (伏鹿手水所).
It is a Shinto water ablution place, and worshippers wash their hands before worshipping there.
Because deer is the messenger of the god of Kasuga-taisha, there is a statue of deer by it.
Nanmon of Kasuga-taisha
Photo by Railstation.net
Lanterns in corridor of Kasuga-taisha
The main precinct is surround with corridors, and is about 42 meters from east to west and about 57 meters from north to south.
There are a few gates on each side.
Worshippers basically enter the precinct from Nanmon (南門, South gate).
The precinct is surrounded with corridors.
About 1,000 lanterns are hung along the corridors.
All of them have been offered from the general people.
There is Heiden, Buden (幣殿, 舞殿) near Nanmon.
Generally we worship there.
The central precinct is in the northeast part of the main precinct.
It is surrounded with another corridor.
There are four shrines in a line in the central precinct.
Each shrine enshrines a different god.
They were designated as national treasures.
When we worship these shrines specially, we must pay 500 yen as the offering.
At that time, worshippers can worship in front of Chumon, Orou (中門, 御廊) surrounding the four shrines.
Deer appears in Kasuga-taisha
Lantern lighting event in Kasuga-taisha
(It is held on Feb.3 & Aug.14,15)
By the way, though this shrine was founded in the ancient time, many buildings are relatively new.
These buildings in this shrine are rebuilt every 20 years.
This rebuiding has been done as the important event of the shrine since 768.
The significance of rebuilding is mainly to keep the clean shrine and to inherit the technology of traditional architecture.
The 60th rebuilding was held from 2015 to 2016.
To the west of the shrine, there is Kokuhouden (国宝殿, Kasugataisha Museum).
It houses many articles including 352 national tresures and 971 important cultural properties in Kasuga-taisha.
We can see some dozens of the treasures in this museum.
There is Mount Kasuga (春日山, Kasugayama, 498 m) to the east of Kasuga-taisha.
It has been the sacred area of Kasuga-taisha, and a broad primary forest spreads.
Because, logging and hunting have been prohibited in this area for more than thousand years.
How to get here
By route bus, about 10 minutes from JR Nara station, about 4 minutes from Kintetsu Nara station.
Get off at Daibutsuden-Kasuga-taisha-mae or Todaiji-Daibutsuden stop.
If you walk from Kintetsu Nara station, it takes about 30 minutes.