Established at the same time as the city itself, Nara’s most celebrated shrine is famous for its lanterns – and the deer, of course. Even the shrine’s chōzuya is carved in the shape of a deer.
Lanterns are everywhere. They line the approach to the shrine, and gather around and between its buildings. Twice yearly, each and every one is lit: several thousand, made from stone, wood, or bronze. The bronze lanterns in particular are donated to the shrine by worshippers, and are regularly replenished.
As you can see, the deer are able to wander as freely here as anywhere else in the city.
The Minamimon – South Gate – is just as flooded with lanterns as the rest.
From Kasuga-taisha you are free to wander on to several auxiliary shrines, and view the ancient forest beyond, which contains many of Japan’s oldest and largest camphor trees. The forest belongs…
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