Festivals & Events
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.
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.
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).
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?
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.
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.