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Nara To-kae 2022 Video Introduction

This video, titled "The 23rd Annual Nara To-kae (Video)" (第23回なら燈花会映像), was uploaded by "Nara To-kae PR" (なら燈花会の会工法).
During Nara To-kae, a summer festival held in Nara, candles are arranged all over Nara Park, which is surrounded by World Heritage sites, creating a fantastic atmosphere within the city.

The History of Nara To-kae

Image of Nara To-kae
Photo:Nara To-kae

Nara To-kae was held for the first time in 1999. The lump of wax that forms at the base of the candle wick in the shape of a flower is called "Toka" (燈花, lit 'Light Flower'), and it is said to bring good luck when it forms. It is an event in which candles are lit to wish for the happiness of the people who visit.

Nara To-kae is a major summer event in Nara, attracting more than 900,000 participants each year, although in recent years the event has been held without spectators due to the novel Coronavirus. Every year, many local companies sponsor the event, and depending on the amount of sponsorship, special offers, such as poster placement, are made.

The festival is held in Nara Park, surrounded by World Heritage sites, such as Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Kofukuji Temple, and Sarusawa Pond, for 10 days from early to mid-August, with candle lighting from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Each venue attracts a large number of visitors each year.

No reservations are required to participate in Nara To-kae, but the official website makes the following requests. Please observe the following rules and manners when participating in the event.

・Please refrain from using tripods for photography.
・Please take your garbage home with you.
・Please do not feed the deer.
・Please do not park illegally.
・The event will be held even in light rain (may be cancelled if the candlelight goes out).
・Wheelchairs are not available for rent. Wheelchairs can be rented at the following locations:
Nara Prefectural Government Tourism Bureau Tourism Promotion Division (TEL: 0742-22-3900 (Japanese Only))
Nara City Tourist Information Center (TEL: 0742-27-2223 (Japanese Only))
Kintetsu Nara Station Tourist Information Center (TEL: 0742-24-4858 (Japanese Only))

Things to Do at Nara To-kae 2023: Food Stalls, Photo Spots, and More

Image of Nara To-kae
Photo:Nara To-kae

During Nara To-kae, a variety of food stalls and stores are crowded with visitors dressed in yukata. The entirety of Nara Park area is enveloped in a festive atmosphere, and Todaiji Temple, Ukimido, and Sarusawa Pond are popular spots for photography. Other popular spots include the 52 step staircase leading to the 5-story pagoda of Kofukuji Temple, Kofukuji Temple itself, and Kasuga Taisha Shrine.

・Ukigumo Enchi
Candles are lined up all over the ground depicting the Milky Way, creating a fantastical atmosphere. This is a popular spot where visitors can make their wishes come true if they pray over each light.

At Asajigahara, candles enclosed in bamboo stand in a row and light up the trees.

Image of Ukimido, Nara To-kae
Photo:Ukimido, Nara To-kae

Candles light up the area around Sagi-ike Pond where Ukimido is located. The surface of the water reflecting the night sky and soft candlelight is truly picturesque.

Sarusawa Pond & the 52 steps
Fireflies can be seen at Sarusawa Pond, and the surface of the water reflects the candlelight, creating a pleasant atmosphere.

Kofukuji Temple
Soft candlelight on the north approach accentuates the mysterious beauty of the temple grounds, creating a dignified atmosphere not seen during the day.

Todaiji Temple
Todaiji Temple is a world heritage site, and during the event the temple is transformed into an even more fantastic space by the lighting of the lanterns.
※8/13 and 8/14 only

Kasuga Taisha Shrine
Kasuga-taisha Shrine is lined with many lanterns and candles, offering a unique view. ※8/14 only

Volunteers and Supporters of Nara To-kae

Nara To-kae is looking for supporters as volunteers on the day of the event. These volunteers are indispensable for Nara To-kae, helping to guide visitors to the venue and providing information at various locations.

One of the attractions of this event is that you can be involved in a historic event not as a visitor, but as a staff member.
You'll be able to see how supporters operate and prepare for the event as well.
[Video] 0:58 - Supporters managing and preparing for the event

Summary of Nara To-kae

Image of Nara Rurie
Photo:Nara Rurie

If you're looking for a Japanese summer event, consider checking out Nara To-kae. That being said, if you're looking for something during the winter months, there is also an event called Nara Rurie.
This is a great winter event where visitors can participate in special memorial services and prayers at Kasuga Taisha Shrine and Todaiji Temple at night every February. The lights and other displays are truly stunning and great for taking photos.

Nara To-kae attracts more than 900,000 visitors from all over Japan. Although not as spectacular as fireworks lighting up the night sky, the scenery created by the gentle and warm lights of the candles touches the hearts of many.
For those interested in not only watching Nara To-kae, but also contributing to the event, there is also the option of becoming a supporter. In the video, you can see supporters of various ages. Being a supporter will make the event an even more memorable experience!

◆Nara To-kae◆
【Address】547 Sanjocho, Nara-shi, Nara-ken 630-8244 Japan
【Event Period】August 5 - August 14, 2023
【Access】Please use public transportation to get to the venue as it is expected to be crowded during the event.
Nearest station: Kintetsu Nara Station and JR Nara Station
Bus stop nearest to each venue: Please board a bus bound for Kasuga Taisha-Honden (春日大社本殿行), City loop (市内循環), or Takahata-machi (高畑町行) at either Kintetsu Nara Station or JR Nara Station.

[Bus Stop Names by Venue]
・Nara National Museum - Himuro Shrine (奈良国立博物館-氷室神社, Nara Kokuritsu Hakubutsu-kan - Himuro Jinja)/ National Museum Front (国立博物館前, Kokuritsu Hakubutsu-kan Mae)
・Ukigumo Enchi/Kasuganoenchi/Todaiji - Daibutsuden Kasuga Taisha Mae (浮雲園地/春日野園地/東大寺-大仏殿春日大社前)
・Asajigahara/Ukimido - Kasuga Taisha Omotesando (浅茅ヶ原・浮見堂-春日大社表参道)
・Kasuga Taisha - Kasuga Taisha Honden (春日大社-春日大社本殿) (Only buses bound for "Kasuga Taisha Honden" stop here)

Written By
Last Updated : Jul. 19, 2022
岡本 修(Shu Okamoto)
A writer fascinated by Japanese architecture. I'll introduce you to buildings and food in Japan!

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Nara To-kae - A Summer Tradition of Candles and Prayers! Enjoy a Relaxing Summer Event in Japan at Nara Park in 2023!
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