Nara Hotel


Close up Nara

JanuaryMt. Wakakusayama Fire Festival

In Nara Park   Mt. Wakakusayama Range

Wakakusayama is a 342-meter-tall mountain located east of Nara Park. A large event representative of Nara.

Date/Hours: 4th Saturday of January, fireworks from 18:15, fire display from 18:30

FebruarySetsubun Mantoro

Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Most of the lanterns were donations from common citizens long ago. Sacred fires are offered in prayer at this event featuring approximately 3,000 illuminated lanterns.

Date/Hours: February 3rd, approximately 18:00 – 20:30


Todaiji Temple Nigatsu-do Hall

This event has its origins in the 4th year of the Tempyo-Shoho era and has since been for more than 1260 years. The ritual of drawing up perfumed water from the well to offer to Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, is called "Omizutori" and every night during this period, a huge torch is lit and used as a street light while Rengyoshu priests perform the ritual.

Dates: March 1 – 14

* Otaimatsu (huge torch) on the 12th is very crowded every year, with a long waiting time. Please understand that you may not be able to see the Otaimatsu depending on the congestion.

AprilOkappa Cherry Blossoms

Nara Park

About 1,700 cherry blossom trees bloom in turn.
Deer eat the petals of the flowers, making it appear as though the lower parts of the trees have been pruned. This gives the trees their name, as “okappa” refers to a short and blunt bob-style haircut.

Season: late March – late April

MayHeijokyo Tenpyo Festival


An event held every spring, summer, and fall. At the Heijo palace site, a World Heritage Site, visitors can see a parade of costumes, falconry, and other events.

Dates/Hours: May 3 – 5, 10:00 – 16:30

JuneTakekuyo Festival (Summer Festival to Ward Off Cancer)

Daianji Temple

On June 23rd at Daianji, the Takekuyo Festival is held as a summer festival to ward off cancer.
A prayer to ward off cancer is recited, and temple staff pour sake into visitors’ bamboo cups.

Date/Hours: June 23, from 8:00

JulyLotus Flower Service (Grass Ring Ritual)

Hokkeji Temple

Pass through the ring of grass in front of the Main Hall to pray and ward off summer illness.
Candle fire and lanterns dotting the temple grounds give off a mysterious aura.

Date/Hours: July 17, from 17:00, Buddhist service from 19:00

AugustNara Daimonji Okurubi Bonfire

Tobihino, Mt. Takamado, at Kasuga Taisha Shrine

The festival is held to honor the spirits of those lost in war and to pray for world peace.
The character (meaning “big” and pronounced dai) is constructed of three gigantic “strokes” 109, 164, and 128 meters in length. It is one of the largest in Japan and can be seen from neighboring cities.

Date/Hours: August 15, memorial service from 18:50, bonfire lighting from 20:00

SeptemberJushichiya Nigatsu-do Bon Festival Dance

Todaiji Temple Nigatsu-do Hall

Approximately 500 lanterns are placed around the Main Hall, bathing the structure in a beautiful, solemn light.

Date/Hours: September 17, from 18:00

OctoberDeer Antler Cutting

Kasuga Taisha Shrine Deer Park

This event, dating back to the early Edo period, was started to prevent accidents and preserve local flora. Staff capture the deer and cut their antlers at the shrine.

Dates: mid-October

November Meiji Festival, Bunka-no-Hi Manyo Gagaku-kai

Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Held on Bunka-no-Hi (Culture Day), this festival pays tribute to the great achievement of the Meiji Emperor and prays for the development of the nation. In the afternoon, many Kangen (orchestral music) and Bugaku (court dance and music) performances, which have been handed down in an unbroken line in the Kasuga Grand Shrine from the Nara period, are presented on a floating stage in the Manyo Botanical Garden by Nantogakuso of the Kasuga Ancient Music Preserving Society.

Date: November 3

DecemberKasuga Wakamiya Festival

Kasuga Taisha Shrine

This festival located at Wakamiya Jinja, a shrine located on the Kasuga Taisha grounds, is one of Japan’s intangible folk culture properties. The festival has been held—without a single break—since the end of the Heian period.

Dates: December 15 – 18

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