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Nara - Another Old Capital where Japan's heart is still alive

Long before Kyoto started to flourish as Japan's national capital of Heian-kyo in 794, there was another place where, in fact, the foundation of Japan had already been established. That place is Nara, another ancient capital, which has so much to offer that have remained unchanged for over 1,300 years.

Visit the Shrine of the Ice Deity in Nara and Cool Down with Unique & Delicious Kakigori!

Since the 8th century, there has been a shrine in Nara dedicated to the deity of ice. Himuro Shrine enshrines the guardian deity responsible for both the pond used for making ice as well as the ice storage building. People in former days made thick ice in specially prepared ponds during the cold winter months and kept it in special storage buildings called Himuro. Every year on the day of the spring equinox, the storage buildings were opened and the ice cubes were offered to the imperial court until the end of summer.



Himuro Shrine and local volunteers came together and started the ''Himuro Shirayuki Festival'' in 2014. The festival consists of a sacred ceremony for the deity of ice, a panel discussion on ice culture, and a number of popular and famous kakigori (shaved ice) shops offering delicious kakigori from around Japan (this year's festival was held on May 6 & 7).


Hiraso Horyuji Branch

Sugano Cafe

Although the festival is over, you can still enjoy kakigori in Nara during your exploration on the summer day. A bowl of kakigori offers a delightful refreshment for everyone. This year, festival members published the ''Nara Kakigori Guide'' featuring a variety of kakigori spots in the city (English and Chinese; available at Himuro Shrine, tourist information centers, accommodations and shaved ice shops around the city).

Himuro Shirayuki Festival: http://himuroshirayuki.wixsite.com/himuroshirayuki
Himuro Shrine: www.himurojinja.jp

Ice Dedication Ceremony at Himuro Shrine (in May)

Get a Nara Kakigori Guide and star t your stroll!

Access to Nara from Kyoto

By JR Train, take the Miyakoji Kaisoku Express (approx. 45 min.)
To learn more about Nara, visit official English websites