Mt. Kasuga-yama Area

Nara, Kansai

A World Cultural Heritage Site known for its virgin forests. Kasuga Taisha Shrine with its red-painted corridors.

Mt. Kasuga-yama is located in the northern part of Nara Prefecture, west of Mt. Mikasa-yama. In the middle of the 9th century the local shrine issued a decree forbidding the cutting down of the trees on the mountain, which has resulted in the preservation of the ancient virgin forests. The scenery of the shrine and the forests has now been inscribed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

At the western foot of Mt. Kasuga-yama is Kasuga Taisha Shrine. It was originally built to protect the ancient capital city, Heijo-kyo, which was established in early 8th century, and now serves as the head of numerous branch shrines spreading all over the country. It is famous as one of the country's three major shrines, together with Ise Jingu and Iwashimizu-Hachimangu shrines. The main shrine building, built in the 'kasuga-zukuri' architectural style, is surrounded by four shrines. The vermilion-lacquered corridors surrounding the main shrine stand out against the rich, deep foliage at the foot of Mt. Kasuga-yama, and the hanging bronze lanterns under its eaves and the four shrine buildings create a sacred and peaceful atmosphere.

A traditional event called "Man-Toro" (10,000 lanterns) is held in summer and winter. All 2,000 stone lanterns and 1,000 hanging lanterns within the precincts are lit, attracting many visitors. Wakamiya-jinja Shrine, a subordinate shrine of Kasuga Taisha Shrine, is located at the south end of the main building, and every winter it is the site of the large-scale Kasuga Wakamiya On-matsuri Festival, an elegant festival featuring traditional performing arts.


From Osaka:
[Rail] 1h 25 min from Kansai Airport to Nara Station by Airport Limousine Bus.
35 min from Namba to Nara Station by Kintetsu Nara Line (regular express).
From Osaka:
[Rail] 35 min from Kintetsu Namba to Kintetsu Nara by Kintetsu Nara Line (rapid express).
From Tokyo:
[Rail] 2h 15 min to Kyoto Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line (Nozomi), and 35 min from Kyoto to Kintetsu Nara Station by Kintetsu Kyoto Line (limited express). Or, 45 min from Kyoto to Nara Station by JR Nara Line.
*It takes 2h 45 min from Tokyo to Kyoto Station by Hikari Shinkansen.

Around the Mt. Kasuga-yama Area

More on the Mt. Kasuga-yama Area