Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chasing Sakura - Japan (20) - Nara: Kasuga Taisha Shrine (春日大社)

"Kasuga Taisha 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." --- Japan Guide

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The path to Kasuga Shrine passes through Nara Park. In Nara, 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.  Most of them avoid human contact, unless you have food for them... :P


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be nice to the deer
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Hi Bambi!
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The Man'yo Botanical Garden is adjacent to the shrine.
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The main entrance of Kasuga Taisha Shrine
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Did you know?  (I didn't!)  The roof of Kasuga Taisha is made is cypress bark.  Every so often, the roof will need to be replaced.  As the renovation requires a large amount of cypress bark, they take donations from the public, at JPY1,000 a bunch!  (I wonder if this material is environmental friendly!)

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"Kasuga Taisha is famous for its lanterns, which have been donated by worshipers. Hundreds of bronze lanterns can be found hanging from the buildings, while as many stone lanterns line its approaches. The lanterns are lit twice a year on the occasion of the Lantern Festivals in early February and mid August."  --- Japan Guide.


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There is a pretty wisteria tree inside the shrine.  However, it was not in bloom yet... / . \  Thanks for the picture to tell me how pretty it will be when it's in season... (/sarcasm)

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When I was researching about the popular restaurants in Nara, most bloggers highly recommend Kasuga Chaya (春日荷茶屋) and Shizuka (志律香).  Since I prefer rice over congee for lunch, I skipped this place.  However, if you are interested, you can visit the blog posts here or here (It's in Chinese).  The menu doesn't change but the ingredients for the congee are seasonal.

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