(Nara Trip 2: around Kasuga Taisha Shrine)
From Nigatsudo Hall of Todaiji Temple, walked through Mt. Wakakusa to Kasuga Taisha Shrine, a World Heritage Site. Kasuga Taisha Shrine has a long history and was built in 768 to pray for the protection of Heijo-kyo and the prosperity of the people. It is the headquarters of the 3,000 Kasuga Shrines in Japan.
It is said that when the god came to Mikasa Mountain from Hitachi Province, he rode on a white deer, then deers at Kasuga Shrine were regarded the messengers of the gods.
The shrine was surrounded by corridors on all sides, and the main shrine and other major buildings were located inside the corridors. On this day, the Shinnamesai Festival was held in the morning so the viewing inside the corridor started in the afternoon.
It was beautiful to see so many lanterns hanging in the vivid vermilion-lacquered shrine corridors. It is said that about 3,000 lanterns, including 2,000 stone lanterns and 1,000 hanging lanterns, were dedicated to the shrine.
View of the main shrine from the corridor. Four Kasuga deities were enshrined in the four halls of the main shrine. First, Takemikazuchi-no-mikodo, the deity of Kashima from the Kashima Jingu Shrine in Hitachi Province, was invited, then Nagate Fujiwara, the Minister, built the shrine at the present location by order of Emperor Shotoku, an emperor of the Fujiwara clan. Three other gods were enshrined together: Futsunushi-no-Mikoto or Katori-no-Mikoto, Ame-no-Koyane-no-Mikoto from Hiraoka Shrine, and Hime-gami.
In the Heian period, the Fujiwara clan flourished together with Kofukuji Temple as the "family god" of the Fujiwara clan.
Entered the darkened Fujinomiya and enjoyed the mysterious world of Manto-ro, a ritual held during the Setsubun (February) and Chugen (August) seasons. Twice a year, all 3,000 lanterns were lit in the Manto-Ro event, which is said to be fantastic.
In the afternoon, strolled around Naramachi. Had a late lunch at Hiraso. Hiraso was a long-established restaurant serving Nara's local cuisine, Kakinoha Sushi. This was their main restaurant.
A set of Kakinoha Sushi.
A set of boiled somen noodles and tempura. It's been a while since had Kakinoha Sushi, and it was very tasty.
A short walk away was a jazz café called "Blue Note". Recently, many cafes have opened in Naramachi.
Walking further, found a Chinese herbal medicine store and an old mosquito net shop.
Naramachi used to be the vast precincts of "Gankoji Temple". The temple originated from the oldest temple in Japan, Hokoji, and there were ruins all over Naramachi. The area near the old main hall was the Naramachi Museum.
A statue of Shomen Kongo, called "Koshin-san", was enshrined in the Koshindo (shrine) in Naramachi. Monkeys were believed as messengers, and in Naramachi, many red monkeys were hung to ward off evil. The monkeys were also called "wishing monkeys" because if write wishes on their back and hang them up, the wishes would come true.
(Continue to Nara Trip 3)
Click here for this blog list and Instagram.
Apologize for an advertisement by the free account.