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Things to do / Traditional festivals

Kasuga Wakamiya Onmatsuri

The Kasuga Wakamiya Onmatsuri is an annual festival held by Wakamiya Shrine in Nara Prefecture, and is one of many events featuring Shinto rituals that pray for good harvests.

The tradition, which began in 1136 in the hope that downpours or other disasters wouldn't affect crops, has taken place annually without fail ever since.

Held from Dec. 15 to 18 this year, the festival is likely to attract the most visitors on Dec. 17, when a lengthy procession will fill the city center of Nara from noon onward.

Twelve groups of marchers will make their way through the city. These will include traditional dancers who will also show off their moves after reaching their goal at a resting place for mikoshi (portable shrines) near the Buddhist Art Library.

There will be a few spots furnished with viewing seats so a limited number of visitors can secure a grandstand view. If you hope to sit to see the parade's beginning, check out the seats near the Nara Prefectural Office. (Yuki Yamauchi)