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Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

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Melbourne
posts: 177
reviews: 22
Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

Hi all :)

I will be visiting Japan in December and wish to visit Nara for a day trip from Osaka. Specifically, I want to be there for the Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri on December 17.

There's really not much information anywhere, but am really thankful for this forum topic (now closed) about the festival tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g298198-i3749-k…

I have a few more questions, so I hope you can help me...

1. Where is the best spot to view the procession? Or do we have to walk & follow?

2. How early do we need to be there to be able to find a good spot to stand and watch the procession?

3. If we were to stay at #1 Torii gate, will we be able to see the start of procession as well as the horse race and kids shooting arrows?

4. Silly question but, we don't need to book anything for this right? Can we just rock up and enjoy? :)

Thank you so much.

.
posts: 1,665
reviews: 28
1. Re: Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

No bookings you just rock up with the million or so others who are heading there! There's actually a lot of information available but it's in Japanese. From the Shrine's website event program Horse racing is listed at 2pm and Horseback archery starts at 2.30pm on the 17th Dec.

www.kasugataisha.or.jp/onmatsuri/1217.html

Just bring your stamina with you.

jnto.go.jp/eng/…kasugawakamiyaon.html

Tokyo, Japan
posts: 15,171
reviews: 90
2. Re: Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

There are lots of information about it; it's just that it is not in English.

This is how it looks like, in parts:

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeEpyviLvh0

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWNPFuNGGq8

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H1OBOlc0n0

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCZXYOJI6U0

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYqaZdcOtls

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpZWmAx9XAY

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxV1Z02zjpA

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMFDVS7LDcw

Google translates everything badly, barely readable, but gives you a hint:

* translate.google.com/translate…

* translate.google.com/translate…

* translate.google.com/translate…

The procession route is shown here: kasugataisha.or.jp/onmatsuri/…pop_map17.html

1. Not really sure. Perhaps around Sanjo Street / Mochiidono Arcade crossing, or Kintetsu Nara Station towards the Kofukuji in Nara Park?

2. Not really sure. It's not a tremendously crowded festival in my memory. You should be alright if you start early, and see how things are on the day while seeing Todaiji temple and Kofukuji.

3. The start of the procession should be from Kofukuji corner and along the main street via Kintetsu Nara Station, JR Nara Station, then Sanjo Street up to Sarusawa Pond then to the 1st Torii and goal.

4. There is a reserved seat system at the 1st Torii (Ichino Torii), at the price of 3,000 yen, when several major events take place. However, that involves application and bank transfer payment (which you might try, but could be difficult for you):

FAX 0742-27-2299

Application inquiry e-mail: onmaturi@narashikanko.or.jp

From the last year: narashikanko.or.jp/whatsimage/onmaturi_matun…

Edited: 10:38 am, August 17, 2013
Tokyo, Japan
posts: 15,171
reviews: 90
3. Re: Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

narashikanko.or.jp/en/…index.html

As the reserved seats at the Ichino Torii is only for hours 13:00-14:00, and other events taking elsewhere (see the route map posted above), I don't think the reserved seats would be necessary for you (which might be intended for local notables of Nara City?).

Edited: 10:44 am, August 17, 2013
Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,660
reviews: 1
4. Re: Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

Welcome to Nara in advance, OP. For starters, given the temp difference, I suggest you come and attend the festival with warm clothes on. For average temps, highs are 11.4, lows 1.9, both in Celcius in Dec. Let me get back on topic:

1. Where is the best spot to view the procession? Or do we have to walk & follow?

Best spots if at all are few and far between. I recommend you stay somewhere near the city hall, yet on the downhill side of the boulevard. The procession goes anti-clockwise, starting officially at somewhere across City Hall from Noboriohji Boulevard. But you'll witness people in various traditional uniforms come through #1 Torii Gate if you're there. Rarely, if ever, do any spectators like to move with the procession from start to end, trying to walk abreast on the street.

2. How early do we need to be there to be able to find a good spot to stand and watch the procession?

If you intend to see any one or all of the three runs of the horse race each in duo and then the yabusame archery performed by young boys later, then like I said above you may like to stay near the city hall so that you can *get back* to #1 Torii gate earlier than otherwise.

3. If we were to stay at #1 Torii gate, will we be able to see the start of procession as well as the horse race and kids shooting arrows?

The horse race starts 50 or so meters away from that gate, inside Worshipers' Lane, and finishes within a furlong in distance from there. The *race track* on that lane is fenced off (not heavily) so you can stay outside it, with not as many spectators around as you may expect, compared to the yabusame archery. Please don't expect the yabusame to be much like one in, say Kamakura, where adults in samurai-attire of yesteryear gallop through the course.

4. Silly question but, we don't need to book anything for this right? Can we just rock up and enjoy? :)

Of course not; you can turn up to any place you want on this day.

BTW, there's no silly questions; only the answers are. ;)

Melbourne
posts: 177
reviews: 22
5. Re: Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

Thanks everyone for your reply :)

So I just need to rock up (because I can turn up to any place I want right? ;)) and stay at one place to hopefully get a sneak peek of the fun-ness of the day (with the million other people, that is!) Haha. Sounds like fun.

Melbourne
posts: 177
reviews: 22
6. Re: Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

Hi Shot,

I've been trying to find the places you mentioned, but silly me, am finding it difficult:

1. City Hall, from Google Maps this points to the left side of Nara JR station which is quite far from Kasuga Shrine area... Is this correct? Or is the City Hall somewhere else, like the Prefectural Office or something?

2. Worshipers' Lane - where is this? I can find one that's called Lovers' Lane but not the Worshipers' Lane.

3. #1 Torii Gate - is that 一言主神社? There's number 1 in it, and it's near the Kasuga Wakamiya area, thus my assumption! LOL.

Thank you so much :)

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,660
reviews: 1
7. Re: Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

1)'City Hall' is a misnomer on my part, so am sorry about that; you're right in assuming that Prefectural Government Office is the correct name.

2) and 3) See page2, in here: jnto.go.jp/eng/location/rtg/pdf/pg-507.pdf

You may need to tilt your face to look at the map, but in it you'll see Kasuga Taisha Shrine located top-middle. If you see closely, then you'll locate a road beneath it that curves slightly to the left, right, left and then goes straight down to a torii-gate mark. That's what I call Worshipers' Lane, and the torii gate #1 Torii, or Ichi-no-torii. To get the picture of a torii gate rightly in maps, I suggest you make an imaginary crossbar at the colum of a large T and if you put together the same figure adjacent to it, then you get the shape of it more or less. Yes, you'd need to tilt your face to get the mark correctly in the map above. ;)

FYI, 一言主神社 (or Hitokotonishi Jinja, known locally as Ichigon-san) is a small shrine ensconced right off the precincts of Kasuga Grand Shrine. Legend has it that in here if you make only one wish then it comes true. FWIW, I don't think I'm as pious to the shinto-shrine god as I should be, but oddly enough I feel awed enough to stay loyal to Kasuga Shrine, so I never pray to other Shinto Gods or Buddha, which means I'm pretty much wary of going under other torii gates except here in Kasuga Shrine's so I won't invite wrath from him or woes unto me. If you ever see a guy going around either one of the huge vemillion pillars of the torii gate at the worshiper's road to Heian Shrine Kyoto, unlike everyone else who goes right under it, then it'd possibly be me. ;)

Melbourne
posts: 177
reviews: 22
8. Re: Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

Ah thank you for clarifying Shot! Was getting a bit worried that I couldn't read my map properly when I couldn't find the things you mentioned.

Will look out for the person who goes around the torii gates ;) Hahaha.

Melbourne
posts: 177
reviews: 22
9. Re: Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

Hello Shot & anyone who has been to Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri,

I've got another question I'm hoping you can assist me with! Found another thread re: the following two restaurants/cafe, and I'm just wondering where they are located:

kasugataisha.or.jp/h_s_tearoom/ninaityaya/ni…

http://www.mizuyachaya.com/

Do you know if they will be open during the On-Matsuri on 17 Dec? I can't seem to find much info on that, but assuming some of them are in the vicinity of the area where the festival is, I just am curious.

Also, during this festival, can we freely roam around Nara? Or will there be road blocks, etc?

Thank you :)

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,660
reviews: 1
10. Re: Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri

I think they both are open on Dec 17th this year. As for the locations, Ninaichaya is on Worshiper's Lane on the side of #2 Torii Gate and is adjacent to Manyo Botanical Garden; Mizuyachaya is on the stream running down from Kasuga Pristine Woods and is about 80meters down its trailhead. To get to Mizuyachaya, you may like to head from the Great Buddha Hall side so you can see Nigatsudo/February Hall, Temukai Shrine, and Wakakusa Hill. If you go down the long flight of stairs at the foot of Wakakusa Hill, then you'll know Mizuyachaya is right across the road from there: http://tinyurl.com/mdec8he

Lastly, 'road blocks' are for cars, so you are free to walk around except (half the part of) Worshiper's Lane.

Have a blast!