Did You Miss New Year in Japan? A Guide to Spending Your Next New Year in Nara

2016 is already here, and yet it’s never too late to take a look at the Japanese way of spending the night between years, and the first day of the new year. And what better place to explore the oshougatsu (お正月) practices, than the old capital, Nara. If you’re looking to spend the New Year…

Mount Shigi and Its Historic Temple: The Lesser-known Attractions of Nara

Located in the northwest of Nara lies the lesser known area of Mt. Shigi. Not only it is a nice place for a simple hike, there is also an interesting “tiger” temple known as Chogosonshi-ji Temple which is more widely referred to as Shigi-Bishamon Temple. At the entrance area of the temple, there is a…

Onda Matsuri: Nara’s ”Sexy Rice Planting Festival”

In various areas of Japan, festivals for fertility, good luck and harvest are common. You might have heard about the famous ‘Honen Matsuri’ or ‘Kanamara Matsuri’ where the bounty of harvest is celebrated with a phallus parade. There are different versions of this type of festival around Japan. One such festival is the ‘Onda Matsuri’…

Omizutori: a Fiery Festival in Nara

In Japan, there are many ways to repent of your sins, and these ways usually differ per place. In Nara Prefecture people observe a two-week long ceremony that serves as a repentance ritual, with the final observance known as ‘Omizutori’. It has its origins in the Buddhist belief that people need to try to cleanse…

Be Mystified by the Glowing Lanterns at the Setsubun Mantoro Festival!

A burning lamp or lantern has a special meaning in Japan. The light helps people overcome the darkness of ignorance. One festival in Nara has more than 3,000 lanterns being lit every year. This is known as “Setsubun Mantoro.” At this time, many celebrations are done all over Japanese shrines. flickr.com/ The Background goldenjipangu.com/ February…

Watch A Mountain Be Set Ablaze at Nara’s Wakakusa Yamayaki Festival!

One Japanese festival which has been taking place for hundreds of years and has no clear origin is being done yearly on Mount Wakakusa (or Wakakusayama in Japanese), a high mountain located in Nara Prefecture. The festival is called “Yamayaki” which literally means “mountain roast” due to the burning of dead grass on the mountain.…

What to See at the Famous Todaiji Temple in Nara

The city of Nara is especially famous for being the home of many deer, that can be seen walking around all over the city. But that is not all Nara has to offer: there is also a famous shopping area called Higashimuki Shotengai, and there are a number of popular temples. The Todaiji Temple is…

Get These Tasty Eats at 2 Popular Restaurants in Nara

Nara is known as the spiritual home of the Japanese. But do you know that it is also famed for its culinary cuisine? As one of the most popular tourist destinations, many restaurants have opened up in the place. Below are some of the food shops I recommend you to try in Nara. Sakura Burger…

Interact with Nara’s Deer at Shikayose, a Winter Deer-Calling Event

Shikayose or deer calling is a winter event in Nara, the ancient capital of Japan. This event held every morning (except on Monday) during February to mid-March, starting from 1892 until now. Shikayose is also held for a few days during the summer. Author’s photo The Deer in Nara Author’s photo As we know, deer…