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The middle gate and hall
Kasuga-taisha is located in Japan
Shown within Japan
Basic information
Location 160 Kasugano-chō, Nara-shi, Nara-ken
Geographic coordinates 34°40′53″N 135°50′54″E / 34.68139°N 135.84833°E / 34.68139; 135.84833Coordinates: 34°40′53″N 135°50′54″E / 34.68139°N 135.84833°E / 34.68139; 135.84833
Affiliation Shinto
Deity Takemikazuchi-o
Ame no Koyane
Festival Kasuga-no-matsuri
(Kasuga-sai: 春日祭) (13th March)
Type Twenty-Two Shrines
Beppyo jinja, Shikinaisya
Former kanpeitaisha
Website www.kasugataisha.or.jp
Architectural description
Architectural style Kasuga-zukuri
Date established 768
Shinto torii icon vermillion.svg Glossary of Shinto

Kasuga Grand Shrine (春日大社, Kasuga-taisha) is a Shinto shrine in the city of Nara, in Nara Prefecture, Japan.[1] Established in 768 CE and rebuilt several times over the centuries, it is the shrine of the Fujiwara family. The interior is famous for its many bronze lanterns, as well as the many stone lanterns that lead up the shrine.

The architectural style Kasuga-zukuri takes its name from Kasuga Shrine's honden (sanctuary).

Kasuga Shrine, and the Kasugayama Primeval Forest near it, are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara".

The path to Kasuga Shrine passes through Deer Park. In Deer Park, deer are able to roam freely and are believed to be sacred messengers of the Shinto gods that inhabit the shrine and surrounding mountainous terrain. Kasuga Shrine and the deer have been featured in several paintings and works of art of the Nambokucho Period.[2] Over three thousand stone lanterns line the way. The Man'yo Botanical Garden, Nara is adjacent to the shrine.


The shrine became the object of Imperial patronage during the early Heian period.[3] In 965, Emperor Murakami ordered that Imperial messengers were sent to report important events to the guardian kami of Japan. These heihaku were initially presented to 16 shrines including the Kasuga Shrine.[4]

From 1871 through 1946, Kasuga Shrine was officially designated one of the Kanpei-taisha (官幣大社), meaning that it stood in the first rank of government supported shrines.[5]


During the festivals of Setsubun Mantoro (February 2–4) and Obon Mantoro (August 14–15), thousands of shrine lanterns are all lit at once.[6]

March 13 is the Kasuga Matsuri ("Monkey Festival"), which features gagaku and bugaku dance performances.[6]

Kasugayama Primeval Forest

Kasugayama Primeval Forest is primeval forest of about 250 hectares (620 acres) near the summit of Kasugayama (498 metres (1,634 ft)), and contains 175 kinds of trees, 60 bird types, and 1,180 species of insects. In this area adjacent to Kasuga Grand Shrine, hunting and logging have been prohibited since CE 841. Because Kasugayama has long been tied to Kasuga Grand Shrine worship, it is regarded as a sacred hill. The forest backdrop of the Kasuga Grand Shrine's buildings today has been unchanged since the Nara period.[7][8]


See also


  1. ^ Richard, Ponsonby-Fane. (1964) Visiting Famous Shrines in Japan, pp. 221-251.
  2. ^ Birmingham Museum of Art (2010). Birmingham Museum of Art : guide to the collection. [Birmingham, Ala]: Birmingham Museum of Art. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-904832-77-5.
  3. ^ Breen, John et al. (2000). Shinto in History: Ways of the Kami, pp. 74-75.
  4. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1962). Studies in Shinto and Shrines, pp. 116-117.
  5. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, pp. 124.
  6. ^ a b "Kasuga Taisha". Hattori Foundation (est.1919) - The Yamasa Institute. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  7. ^ Naracity Tourist Association
  8. ^ Japan Airline "Guide to Japan - Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara"


External links

  • Official site in Japanese
  • Kasugataisha Shrine, from The Official Nara Travel Guide
  • Mt. Kasuga Primeval Forest, from The Official Nara Travel Guide
  • Japan Guide
  • New York Public Library Digital Gallery, early photograph of entrance to Kasuga Shrine
  • National Diet Library: photo, 1913
  • National Archives of Japan: Kasugashinkozu, scroll showing annual festival at Nara Kasuga Grand Shrine (Edo period)

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