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Kasuga Grand Shrine

Kasuga Grand Shrine is a Shinto shrine in the city of Nara, in Nara Prefecture, Japan.

Established in 768 AD and rebuilt several times over the centuries, it is the shrine of the Fujiwara family. The interior is famous for its many bronze lanterns, as well as the many stone lanterns that lead up the shrine.

The architectural style Kasuga-zukuri takes its name from Kasuga Shrine's honden (sanctuary).

Kasuga Shrine, and the Kasugayama Primeval Forest near it, are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara".

The path to Kasuga Shrine passes through Deer Park (where tame deer roam free). Over a thousand stone lanterns line the way. The Man'yo Botanical Garden, Nara is adjacent to the shrine.

 History

The shrine became the object of Imperial patronage during the early Heian period. In 965, Emperor Murakami ordered that Imperial messengers were sent to report important events to the guardian kami of Japan. These heihaku were initially presented to 16 shrines including the Tatsuta Shrine.

From 1871 through 1946, Kasuga Shrine was officially designated one of the Kanpei-taisha , meaning that it stood in the first rank of government supported shrines.

Festivals

During the festivals of Setsubun Mantoro (February 2–4) and Obon Mantoro (August 14–15), the thousands shrine lanterns of Kasuga-taisha are all lit at once.

March 13 is the Kasuga Matsuri ("Monkey Festival"), which features gagaku and bugaku dance performances.
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