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Kasuga Taisha (t) is Nara's most celebrated shrine. It was established at the same time as the capital and is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of the city. Kasuga Taisha was also the tutelary shrine of the Fujiwara, Japan's most powerful family clan during most of the Nara and Heian Periods. Like the Ise Shrines, Kasuga Taisha had been periodically rebuilt every 20 years for many centuries. In the case of Kasuga Taisha, however, the custom was discontinued at the end of the Edo Period.

Beyond the shrine's offering hall, which can be visited free of charge, there is a paid inner area which provides a closer view of the shrine's inner buildings. Furthest in is the main sanctuary, containing multiple shrine buildings that display the distinctive Kasuga style of shrine architecture, characterized by a sloping roof extending over the front of the building.

Kasuga Taisha is famous for its lanterns, which have been donated by worshippers. Hundreds of bronze lanterns can be found hanging from the buildings, while as many stone lanterns line its approaches. The lanterns are only lit twice a year during two Lantern Festivals, one in early February and one in mid August.

There are many smaller auxiliary shrines in the woods around Kasuga Taisha, twelve of which are located along a path past the main shrine complex and are dedicated to the twelve lucky gods. Among them are Wakamiya Shrine, an important cultural property known for its dance festival, and Meoto Daikokusha, which enshrines married deities and is said to be fortuitous to matchmaking and marriage.

Located a short walk from the Kasuga Shrine main complex is the Kasuga Taisha Shinen Manyo Botanical Garden. This garden displays about 250 kinds of plants described in the Manyoshu, Japan's oldest collection of poems which dates to the Nara Period. A large part of the garden is dedicated to wisteria flowers which usually bloom from late April to early May.

The shrine grounds also contain the Kasuga Taisha Museum, a treasure hall near the main complex which displays some of the shrine's relics. These include two sets of large ornate drums. Additionally, the Kasuga Primeval Forest, a sacred old-growth forest belonging to the shrine, covers the mountain behind Kasuga Taisha, however, it is closed to the public.

Getting there and around

Kasuga Taisha is located in the east of Nara Park. It is about a 30 minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, or a 45 minute walk from JR Nara Station. Alternatively, it can be reached by bus from either station. Get off at the Kasuga Taisha Honden bus stop (220 yen, frequent departures).

How to get to and around Nara

Hours and Fees

Kasuga Taisha

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Closed

Admission

Kasuga Taisha Museum

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Closed

Admission

Botanical Garden

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Closed

Admission

Hotels around Nara

Top rated in Nara
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    • Hilo Hostel
      Mid-range
      Located less than 1 km from Nara Station, Hilo Hostel provides rooms with air conditioning in Nara. This 3-star hostel offers a shared kitchen, luggage storage space and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is set 18 km from Iwafune Shrine. Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium is 21 km from the hostel, while Nippon Christ Kyodan Shijonawate Church is 22 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 53 km from Hilo Hostel.
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    • Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park
      Budget-friendly
      Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park is situated in the Nara Park district of Nara, 3.3 km from Nara Station and 20 km from Iwafune Shrine. Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the property. Each unit is fitted with air conditioning, private bathroom and a kitchen including a fridge, microwave, stovetop and a toaster. If you would like to discover the area, hiking is possible in the surroundings. Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium is 23 km from the lodge, while Nippon Christ Kyodan Shijonawate Church is 25 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 55 km from Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park.
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    • NARA Visitor Center and Inn
      Budget-friendly
      The Nara Visitor Center and Inn is situated in the heart of Nara, just a 3-minute walk from Kofuku-ji Temple and Naramachi. The Todai-ji Temple and Deer Park are a 10-minute stroll away, while Nara Station on the Kintetsu Line is a 7-minute walk. JR Nara Station is 14-minutes away on foot. All guest rooms feature air conditioning and heating, and are equipped with a fridge and flat-screen TV. Japanese samue nightwear are available to all staying guests. Some units come equipped with an en suite bathroom with a shower, while some Japanese-style rooms come with an en suite shower. Japanese-style rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding. The property offers free WiFi access and a 24-hour front desk. Luggage storage is available. There is a public bath on site, where guests will find free toiletries and hairdryers. A coin launderette, a shared kitchen and free-use internet PCs are offered on site. The on-site tourist information desk offers information in English, Chinese and Korean. Services offered at the desk include transport and meal tickets at a discount, currency exchange, bike hire at a charge, cultural activities at an additional charge, such as Japanese calligraphy lessons, and tour arrangements. Some cultural activities such as origami folding are offered free of charge.
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    • Yuzan Guesthouse
      Budget-friendly
      Conveniently located a 5-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station and a 8-minute walk from JR Nara Station, Yuzan Guest House Annex offers cosy accommodation with a shared kitchen. Free WiFi access is available throughout the property. Each room is simply decorated and comes with air conditioning and heating facilities. Guests can choose to stay in Japanese-style rooms featuring tatami (woven-straw) floor and futon bedding. Bathroom facilities are shared. At Guest House Yuzan Annex you will find a small garden, a terrace and a shared lounge. Free luggage storage is also available upon request. Guests can make a 10-minute stroll to the Nara Park, located in the city central area. Todaiji Temple and Heijo Palace are both a 10-minute drive away while Kansai International Airport can be reached with a 80-minute drive. Meals are not served on site.
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    • Hotel Rokune
      Mid-range
      Located in Nara, Hotel Rokune provides 3-star accommodation with private balconies. Featuring a terrace, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The property is non-smoking and is set 700 metres from Nara Station. All units are equipped with a fridge, microwave, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer and a desk. At the hotel every room is equipped with bed linen and towels. Hotel Rokune offers 3-star accommodation with a hot tub. Iwafune Shrine is 17 km from the accommodation, while Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium is 21 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 52 km from Hotel Rokune.
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    • SLOW HOUSE NARA
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring 2-star accommodation, SLOW HOUSE NARA is located in Nara, 1.3 km from Nara Station and 19 km from Iwafune Shrine. The 2-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen and luggage storage space for guests. At the guest house, each room comes with a desk. At SLOW HOUSE NARA every room is equipped with bed linen and towels. Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium is 22 km from the accommodation, while Nippon Christ Kyodan Shijonawate Church is 23 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 54 km from SLOW HOUSE NARA.
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    • Hotel Naranohamori
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, Hotel Naranohamori is situated in Nara, 19 km from Iwafune Shrine and 22 km from Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium. The 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is set 2 km from Nara Station. The units in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV. At Hotel Naranohamori all rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. Nippon Christ Kyodan Shijonawate Church is 23 km from the accommodation, while Shijonawate City Museum of History and Folklore is 23 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 54 km from Hotel Naranohamori.
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    • The Deer Park Inn
      Budget-friendly
      Located within Nara Park, The Deer Park Inn offers free Wi-Fi throughout the property and a chance to feed the many deer roaming around the park. Kintesunara Train Station is an 8-minute taxi ride away. Rooms feature air conditioning/heating and free toiletries. Bathrooms and toilets are shared with other guests. Meals are not served on the property, but guests can use the communal kitchen to prepare their own meals. Luggage storage is available for free and a coin launderette is available at a surcharge. Kasuga Taisha Shrine is located a 7-minute walk away, while the Todaiji Temple is located within a 15-minute walk from the property. Guests can also take a 13-minute walk to access the Nara National Museum or a 17-minute walk to see the beautiful Isuien Garden.
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    • Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Nara, 2 km from Nara Station, Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi offers accommodation with a garden, private parking, a shared lounge and a restaurant. Offering a bar, the property is located within 20 km of Iwafune Shrine. The accommodation features a shared kitchen and luggage storage space for guests. With a shared bathroom fitted with a shower and free toiletries, rooms at the guest house also feature free WiFi, while some rooms also feature a balcony. At Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi, the rooms are equipped with air conditioning and a safety deposit box. The accommodation offers a continental or American breakfast. The area is popular for cycling, and bike hire is available at Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi. Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium is 23 km from the guest house, while Nippon Christ Kyodan Shijonawate Church is 24 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 55 km from Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi.
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    • Nara Hotel
      Luxury
      The century old Nara Hotel features classic Japanese architecture and elegant rooms with free WiFi. Located on Nara Parkfs beautiful hills, it overlooks the ancient capitalfs historic sites. The cosy rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and warm colours. They come with an LCD TV with satellite channels, a minibar and a bathrobe. From Nara Hotel, the center of Nara Park is a 10-minute walk, Isuien Garden is a 15-minute walk and Todai-ji Temple is a 20-minute walk. Nara Station is a 10-minute bus ride away and connects to Kyoto in 45 minutes, while Kansai Airport is a 100-minute bus ride. Guests can explore the ancient city with Hotel Narafs rental bicycles. They can relax with a massage or browse in the hotelfs gift shop. French cuisine can be enjoyed in a mixture of classic Japanese and French d?cor at dining room Mikasa, while Restaurant Hanagiku serves seasonal Japanese dishes. Guests with a dinner-inclusive plan can choose either French or Japanese dinner. Freshly baked pastry and park views are offered at the Tea Lounge.
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