Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Nara, Japan

Kasuga Shrine ("Taisha" means "Shrine" in Japanese) was established by the Fujiwara clan in 709, although most of today's buildings are Heian rather than Nara in form. The shrine is affiliated (jingu-ji) with Kofuku-ji temple. It is symbolized in art by sacred deer, the messengers of the gods (kami). Kasuga Taisha is distinguished in the history of Japanese performing arts as the birthplace of Gagaku, Bugaku, and the Noh theatre.