Like the Kōfuku-ji Temple, the Kasuga Shrine was commisssioned by the Fujiwara family. When it was founded in 768, at the time of Heijō-kyō, this Shintō shrine is one of the most important in Japan. In accordance with the Shintō need for purification, the shrine is destroyed and rebuilt every 20 years, like the Great Shrine of Ise.
Kasuga Taisha is situated in Nara Park, just east of Tōdai-ji. Approaching the shrine, the visitors will walk along a path of 3,000 lanterns, 2,000 of which are made of stone, and 1,000 of bronze. The lantern festival is held twice a year at "Setsubun" (3 February) and "Obon" (14-15 August).
The Kasuga Matsuri or "Monkey Festival" is held on 13 March and involves Gagaku and Bugaku dance performances.
Opening Hours & Admission
The Kasuga Shrine is open all year-round from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm from April to September, and 6:30 am to 5:30 pm the rest of the year. Admisssion to the outer compound is free, but access to the inner grounds will cost you ¥500.
The Botanical Garden is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (until 4:30 pm from December to February). It is closed on Mondays form December to February. Entry is ¥500.
The Treasure House has the same opening hours as the Botanical Garden and admission is ¥400.
How to get there
Kasuga-taisha is located in the south-east of Nara Park, in the eastern section of the city. The nearest station is Kintetsu Nara, located 1.4 km away (approx. 20 minutes walk). Alternatively, it is 2.5 km (approx. 30 minutes walk) from JR Nara Station.
Map of attractions in Nara