Cultural in Nara


Though the origins of this festival are unclear (it's possibly a nod to a long-ago feud between the monks of Tōdai-ji and Kōfuku-ji), Nara's three big religious institutions, Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji and Kasuga Taisha, c…
Cultural in Nara

Shuni-e Ceremony

During this fire festival the monks of Tōdai-ji parade huge, flaming torches around the balcony of Nigatsu-dō for 10 nights straight, raining embers on spectators to purify them. On the following day they draw water…
Cultural in Nara


On 3 February, also known as Setsubun (the first day of spring on the old lunar calendar), Kasuga Taisha lights each and every one of its 3000 stone and bronze lanterns – it's impossibly atmospheric. The festival is…
Cultural in Nara


Nara-kōen's deer are pursued in a type of rodeo into the Roku-en (deer enclosure) close to Kasuga Taisha, where they are wrestled to the ground and their antlers sawn off. Tourist brochures suggest that this is to a…
Dance in Nara

Takigi Nō

Open-air performances of nō (stylised dance-drama) are held after dark by the light of blazing torches at Kōfuku-ji (on the third Friday of May) and Kasuga Taisha (on the third Friday and Saturday of May).