Festivals & Events
Held since the 12th century, this much-loved annual festival runs for four days in December. It's a great chance to see many different eras of Japanese fashion and culture all in one place.
The venue, the Wakamiya-jinja Shrine, is around a five-minute walk from Kasuga Taisha Honden bus terminal, where the Nara Kotsu bus from Kintetsu Nara Station stops.
The festival was originally created to pray away a disease epidemic. It later became associated with guaranteeing a good harvest. Because of the importance of the harvest in ancient Japan, the festival lasts for four days. For visitors to the area, December 17 is the most interesting day.
The various traditional performances such as kagura, music dedicated to the gods, and bagaku, court music with dance, will surely leave you with a unique appreciation for traditional Japanese musicianship. The most famous musical performance of the festival is the kagura, the music dedicated to the gods.
The music of the Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri is completely unique and has been designated an important cultural property of Japan. The dances are passed down from one generation to another, and many of these musical performances can only be seen at this festival.
Most visitors make the bagaku court music their priority as it is usually accompanied with traditional dancing and costumes, making a very unique experience.
If you are interested in seeing the fashion and culture of bygone eras, the Jidai Gyrotesu (Procession of the Eras) is a must-see.
In this procession, the customs, manners and clothing of every major era from Heian (794 to 1185) to Edo (1603 to 1868) are authentically replicated. It's a unique chance to see over 1,000 years of art and culture in one place.