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Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Built more than 1300 years ago, Kasuga Taisha Shrine is surrounded by the Kasugayama Primeval Forest, where hunting and logging has been forbidden for thousands of years. The shrine is famous for its stone and bronze lamps. The lamps were a donation to the gods as a way of expressing gratitude and around 3000 or more are spread out throughout the whole area. Every year during February and August, all of the lamps light up for the Obon and Setsubun Mantoro Festival. Kasuga Taisha Shrine is one of the Shinto shrines that practice the traditional “Shikinen Zotai” ceremony, which takes place every 20 years. It is a time when the buildings of the shrine go through a traditional restoration process. Annually there are more than 1000 festivals held at this location, and prayers are offered for national, global peace and happiness for all people by monks. In December 1998, the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara” including Kasuga Taisha and Kasugayama Primeval Forest were designated as a joint UNESCO World Heritage Site.