Nara Tokae is a festival in which lights illuminate the night of the old capital, Nara, in a fantastic way. Although it is a relatively new festival that started in 1999, the way the lights illuminate the lingering atmosphere of old Japan in Nara touches the hearts of many visitors. During merely 10 days in summer, over 20,000 candles light up within the vast nature and history of Nara. Instead of just watching, visitors can also participate through “ikkyaku itto” (one visitor, one light). The candle you lit dedicating a wish is sure to become an unforgettable memory.
Illuminating 10 Areas
Nara Tokae is held in 10 different locations within the whole area of Nara Park. Locations are Ukigumo-enchi, Kasugano-enchi, Iraka, Asajigahara, Sarusawaike, Ukimido, Kofuku-ji, Nara National Museum, Todai-ji (only 13th and 14th) and Kasuga-taisha (only 14th). Get mesmerized by the healing effects of the soft candle lights at the location that most speaks to you.
Recommended Area 1: Ukigumo-enchi
Recommended Area 2: Ukimido
Recommended Area 3: Asajigahara
（Source: jp3pzd’s photo diary）
Recommended Area 4: Sarusawaike
Recommended Area 5: Kasugano-enchi
Make a Wish: Ikkyaku Itto (One Visitor, One Candle)
The reception for ikkyaku itto, in which everybody can participate, is located at Ukigumo-enchi. “Toka,” which is also the name of this festival, is a flower-shape that forms at the tip of the candle wick and is said to bring good luck when it forms. You should also make a wish and light a candle. *Donation 500 yen. Comes with a memorial flower.
Lively Food Stands
There are many food stands at Nara Tokae, so there is no need to worry about getting hungry on the way. This lively atmosphere is part of the enjoyment that is only present on a day of a festival.