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The Otateyama Matsuri

Wonderful Winter Festival.

This year, for the third time, lions, dragons and demons will dance and run through the streets to the pounding rhythm of the Taiko drums. Ancient dances will be performed by locals in traditional robes and gowns. Elaborate assemblies of performers will be swinging and balancing large Japanese lanterns around their shoulders, and of course the main spectacle: four enormous floats depicting the Deities of the Compass will parade through it all and assemble at Heijokyo Palace, the site of the original capital of Japan, 1,300 years ago.

Each Otateyama festival float carries a seven meter tall illuminated statue of a guardian deity from one of the four compass points, and when all four are combined, represent Nara’s hopes and prayers for 2018.

Allow yourself to be moved by the power and rhythm of the taiko drums, dazzled by the choreography of the various dances, and marvel at the showcase of costumes that make up the festival.


The Otateyama Matsuri runs from Friday, January the 26th 16:00 - 20:00, Saturday, the 27th, and Sunday the 28th 13:00 - 20:00 respectively at the Heijokyo Palace Site in Nara City. Free buses to the venue depart from JR Nara Station, west exit no 12, from 17:00 - 19:00 every 20 minutes

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