Setsubun Mantoro and Chugen Mantoro
Candle fire lights up 3,000 lanterns.
Here you can experience a fantastic world of antiquity.
At Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara, each of the more than 3,000 lanterns in the precincts are lit up three days a year, namely on February 3rd (Setsubun Mantoro) and August 14th-15th (Chugen Mantoro) , between 19:00 and 21:30 for the summer event and 18:00 amd 20:30 for the winter event.
This is an event which has continued for 800 years and most of the lanterns have been donated by ordinary citizens with the exception of a handful which had been dedicated by samurai warriors in the Warring States Period. Such scenery lit only by candlelight takes you back into bygone days of no electricity and is full of mysticism. The reflections of the light on the river surface and the vermilion buildings of the shrine strike a beautiful harmony.
There are stone lanterns in the gardens and hanging lanterns in the corridors. The garden lanterns are decorated with strips of Japanese paper inscribed with people's wishes, and are lit by the participants. The hanging lanterns in the corridors come in a variety of designs. It appears that the number of lanterns corresponds to the number of wishes. Formerly, these numerous lanterns were lit up every night, which is quite amazing.
February 3rd marks the transition from winter to spring known as Setsubun, when beans, good luck charms and a votive picture of a horse, which are items for securing a long life, are sold from early morning. It is also worthwhile to take a stroll in the shrine precincts in the daytime. In summer, you can enjoy watching the performance of dancers dressed in ancient kimono.
[Bus]Very close to the Kasuga Taisha Honden bus stop.Kasuga Taisha Honden bus stop is on the Nara-Kotsu Bus route from JR or Kintetsu Line's Nara Station to Kasuga Taisha Honden.
Place: Kasuga Taisha Shrine
Dates: February 3rd
Dates and functions are subject to change without notice. Be sure to check the latest information in advance.
City: Kasugano-cho, Nara City