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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Festivals & Events

Setsubun Mantoro 節分万燈籠

A different view of one of Nara's most famous sites

Each year on February 3rd, Kasuga Taisha Shrine is illuminated by the over 3,000 lanterns which are spread over its grounds. Visitors looking to get a different view of one of the most famous sacred spots in Nara cannot miss this stunning winter event.

Don't Miss

  • Soaking up the beauty of reflections of the light on the river surface
  • Grab some dried beans to ward off demonic spirits
  • The daytime events, especially the kimono-clad dancers

How to Get There

The easiest way to access the festival is by bus or by walking.

Buses from both JR and Kintetsu Nara will stop at Kasuga Taisha Honden bus stop, which is only a short walk from the event. It is also possible to walk to the area from Kintetsu Nara station; the journey takes about 20 minutes by foot.

Local donations

Many of the lanterns represent donations given by local residents and business people. As the festival has taken place for over 800 years, many famous people have donated lanterns over the years. Some of the lanterns even bear the names of famous samurai from the Warring States period (c. 1467–1603).

The festival of wishes

If you have a wish that you are dying to have come true, then you are in luck, as the festival is associated with the making and granting of wishes.

If you look closely at the lanterns in the garden, you will notice that they are decorated with strips of paper that have people's wishes written on them. Why not join them and leave your own wish?

Setsubun, the magical festival

The timing of the festival coincides with an annual festival in Japan called Setsubun. This festival celebrates the transition from winter to spring. One of the highlights of the Setsubun festival is when families throw dried beans at a person wearing a demonic mask to prevent bad fortune.

As part of the Setsubun festival, in the grounds around Kasuga Taisha dried beans and magical charms can be bought to secure a long life and ward off demonic spirits.

A festival for the day and the night

There are even things to see during the day as the grounds often host traditional dancers dressed in old-fashioned kimonos.

Whether you go during the day or during the night, you are guaranteed to have a fascinating and unforgettable experience at the Setsubun Mantaro event.

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