Cherry blossoms form a beautiful backdrop to the mossy stone lanterns (Photo: Ophelia Cai)

Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Spring

In search of deer and lanterns

Fiona Yoshitake   - 2 min read

Bold scarlet columns, roofs of Hinoki cypress, bronze lanterns green and gold.

Mystical looking stone plinths, changing slowly from granite to green, as time covers them with richly hued moss.

A deer with twinkling eyes, peeping quietly through the cherry blossoms, scouting for food.

This is UNESCO World Heritage Site Kasuga Taisha (The Spring Shrine), whose beauty has been left unblemished with the passing of 1300 years. As civilization marches onwards, Kasuga Taisha remains frozen in time.

The shrine is above all famous for its bronze lanterns, donated by worshipers and numbering over 3,000. While they are only lit twice a year during the two Lantern Festivals in early February and mid-August, visitors can still get a sense of the magical atmosphere by visiting the Sea of Wisteria Room (Fuijta no ya) which is open all year around. The intricately wrought bronze lanterns flicker into life in this darkened room, giving one the impression of being surrounded in a bath of warm light.

Visit in spring to enjoy the weeping cherry blossoms and the heightened beauty of the scene.

For a more in-depth read regarding Nara's Kasuga Taisha Shrine, take a look at this Japan Travel article.

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Find out more about Kasuga Taisha.

Fiona Yoshitake

Fiona Yoshitake @fiona.yoshitake