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Some of the Oldest Japanese Swords at Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Nara: Video Introduction

This video, titled "Yasutsuna – An Exhibition of the World of the Oldest Japanese Swords" (最古の日本刀の世界「安綱・古伯耆」展), was uploaded by "Nara Television Broadcasting Co." ( 奈良テレビ放送). This news video introduces an exhibition held in the city of Nara featuring works related to the swordsmith Yasutsuna and his family. It shows works created by swordsmiths active in the late Heian Period (794-1185). Forty articles are on display, including 10 national treasures, such as a famous sword called "Dojigiri," which was used by Minamoto no Yorimitsu to kill Shuten Doji, as well as other swords with a distinguished history. The exhibition also offers a glimpse into the history of how Japanese swords that were once straight, came to have a curved blade. Be sure to check out the priceless masterpieces in the video as you read along.

The Black Lacquer Tachi of Kasuga Taisha – One of the Oldest Japanese Swords

The sword which is kept in the treasury of Kasuga-taisha and is known as Kuro-urushi-yamagane-tachi (黒漆山金作太刀, lit. "black-lacquered mountain-iron blade") was made in the late Heian period (around 1185 AD).
It was discovered during a structural renovation of the temple's treasury in 1939 and is now nationally recognized as an important work of art.
You can take a look at Kuro-urushi-yamagane-tachi at 0:13 in the video.

Every 20 years Kasuga-taisha undergoes renovation and it was when the sword was being cleaned and repaired that it was found out to have been made in the mid to late 12th century, making it one of the oldest swords in Japan.
The curved shape of the blade is what helped identify which century the sword was made in.

The area of the blade near the handle is curved and the tip is straight, a style typical of ancient Japanese swords.
It is a real blessing to find the sword in such a good state, along with it's case which shows characteristics of 14th century craftsmanship, leading to the hypothesis that this sword was a precious samurai family heir loom which had been passed down for years and years.
You can see the case at 1:17 in the video.

Sightseeing Spots at Kasuga-Taisha Shrine

Image of the Large Cedar Tree at Kasuga-Taisha's Central Gate・Nara
Photo:The Large Cedar Tree at Kasuga-Taisha's Central Gate・Nara

Kasuga-taisha is a shrine which was built in Nara prefecture in 768 AD. There are approximately 1000 Kasuga shrines in Japan and Kasuga-taisha in Nara is known as the grand shrine and the most important of them all.
Kasuga-taisha is known for bringing good luck and happiness in marriage and we highly recommend receiving a stamp or good luck charm (omamori) from the shrine.

Many events are held at Kasuga-taisha such as the Kasuga Wakamiya-On Festival (春日若宮おん祭, asugawakamiyaonmatsuri), the Buddhist Lantern Festival (万灯篭, mandoukago), and the Iris Festival (菖蒲祭, shoubumatsuri). We also recommend visiting during fall to see the beautiful changing colors of the leaves or in spring when the wisteria are in full bloom.
There are also many spots in the area where you can go for lunch or grab something to eat!

Summary of Famous Swords of Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Nara

A Japanese sword in the collection of the Nara's Kasuga Taisha Shrine attracted attention in 2018 when it was discovered to be one of the oldest Japanese swords in existence. In addition to this famous sword, masterpieces such as Hizamaru and Higekiri are also on display in the National Treasure Hall of Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara. Kasuga Taisha Shrine is a popular attraction among both foreign and domestic tourists. Please check the official website of Kasuga Taisha Shrine for information on special exhibitions where you can see the masterfully crafted blades..

◆Nara Kasuga-taisha Information summary◆
【Address】 Kasuganocho (春日野町) 160, Nara city, Nara prefecture
【Openings】March-October 6.30am-5.30pm, November-February 7am-5pm
【Entrance fee】Free of charge (Kasuga-taisha Museum: Adults: 500 yen, University/High school students: 300 yen, junior high school/elementary school students: 200 yen)
【Access】10 minutes by bus (bound for Kasuga-taisha Honden (春日大社本殿)) from JR Nara Station (JR 奈良駅, JR Naraeki) followed by a 10-minute walk.
【Parking】Available (1000 yen)
【Phone number】0742-22-7788

【Official Website】World Heritage Kasuga-taisha

Written By
Last Updated : Jun. 26, 2022
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!
Japan's Oldest and Most Famous Swords at Kasuga Taisha Shrine's Hall of National Treasures in Nara, Japan! Japanese Sword Fans and History Buffs Will Enjoy This Video!
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