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  • Writer's pictureAkiko Murakami

Kasuga grand Shrine and wisteria

wisteria in Manyo botanical garen

Kasuga grand Shrine is located at the foot of Mt. Mikasa with a history of 1250 years.

Walking around the Kasuga Shrine complex, along the path surrounded by the moss-covering stone lanterns in the early morning is a peaceful pastime for me. It is lovely to find freely roaming innocent cute deer, here and there.

If you have an extra time to spend in Nara, I'd like to recommend you to visit the sacred garden for the gods, Man'yo -Shokubutsu-en, located about 50 meters before the Ni-no-Torii (Second Torii Gate).

Opened in 1932, "Shin- En (神苑)/ Man'yo-Shokubutsu-en (Man'yo botanical garden)" was originally designed for the gods of Kasuga Shrine to enjoy beautiful plants and flowers every season. Here, around 300 kinds of flowring plants, mentioned in the Man'yo-shu are growing.

★the oldest anthology compiled in the 8th century

that includes about 4500 long and short poems.

Since wisteria flowers are the symbol and crest of Kasuga grand Shrine, there is a large Wisteria garden, and there are about 20 kinds of 200 wisteria trees. Every spring, around late April to early May, wisteria flowers bloom breathtakingly beautiful!

I took these photos on April 26, 2018.

The garden is opened from 9AM --.

Unlike many famous temples and Japanese gardens in Kyoto, this garden has a totally different atmosphere.. more nature-oriented with less visitors. About 30,000 plants are now growing and the plants are identified by their Latin and Japanese names on the tags.

There are many good spots to rest and spend some time..

You don't want to miss a monument stone on a small island on a pond, that engraved a word "神”(kami =shinto deity), originally from a calligraphy work by a former head priest Hamuro, who wrote books on Japanese and Shintoism. (See the last 2 photos).

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