Friday, March 9, 2012

nara - kasuga taisha

Kasuga Taisha is the family shrine of the powerful Fujiwara Clan. It is also the shrine of legend that invited a god to protect the city, whom arrived on a white deer, hence the love and protection of deer in Nara. Kasuga Taisha is located in a forested area with paths lined by approximately 2000 stone lanterns. These stone lanterns and the bronze lanterns hanging off the eaves of Kasuga Taisha are some of the most popular features of the shrine.

I decided to feed the deers on these paths since they probably didn't get as much food as the ones clustered around Nara Park. I only wanted to feed deer that were loners so I wouldn't get rushed and could take a picture with them. I fed a deer and then it wouldn't leave me alone. It kept following me and biting my clothes. I scolded it like it was one of my students and tried to shoo it away. When none of that worked I threw a deer biscuit on the floor and ran away while it was distracted! Haha. Later I saw a cute little baby deer that I wanted to feed and take a picture with. However as I was about to feed it, its mother saw and came running over to get fed too. Since I only wanted to feed and take a picture with the baby I was waiting for them to separate.. Then just as the mom wandered away I managed to feed the baby but the mom came rushing back and I wasn't able to take a picture. The funny thing was even though I was standing right in front of them, the deer mistook these 3 Japanese girls walking by, as the ones having the biscuits and started pestering them. I just stood there laughing while the girls tried to tell the deer that it was me who had the food. Lol. Then I snuck away all ninja like.

hey don't walk away from me! FEED ME FEED ME!
After walking some more I finally arrived at Kasuga Taisha. I didn't go in pass the offering hall because that would have cost 500 yen. At this point I was getting pretty tired of seeing shrines and temples that I had to pay an exorbitant amount to view especially since there aren't any statuary.

kasuga taisha
There are around 1000 bronze lanterns hanging in Kasuga Taisha. I know there are more structures around the area that I could have explored but there was a lot of construction going on and I didn't want to get lost. Past Kasuga Taisha, I didn't see anyone on the paths so I just headed back. Heading back I was determined to get rid of my deer biscuits and get some good photos of me feeding the deer. I had learned my lesson this time and I choose a loner deer that was behind a fence. This way I could tempt the deer to eat my biscuit without it actually eating my biscuit till I got the picture. Also this way I could also prevent it from attacking me for more food. 

let me feed you deer using my mouth :D
Then I wandered around the park some more enjoying how pretty everything was. Walked through a plum tree garden - love finding these gardens all over Japan. Afterwards went and checked out the Ukimidō Gazebo which is a hexagonal structure sitting over a lake. 

I can see this as a setting for an ancient drama where the girl is standing there in the gazebo waiting for her lover to come so that they can run away together or have them both sitting under the gazebo playing ancient musical instruments and writing poetry. Was seeing a lot of female deer and was finally able to find a male one so that I could touch their horns. Super smooth!

rub it for good luck?
The Details
Kasuga Taisha
hours: April-October 6:30-17:30; November-March 7:00-16:30
admission fee: 500 yen
- the treasure hall and botanical garden cost an additional 400 and 500 yen respectively
Kasuga Taisha Brochure

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