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Friday, Aug. 3, 2012

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Light up your life: Nara's cultural treasures are lit by candles during the Nara Tokae event taking place in August. (C) 2011 NARACITY TOURIST ASSOCIATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Nara's candle spectacular lets visitors walk through the stars

Staff Writer

When it comes to ancient capitals, Nara can hold its ground against Kyoto. The city was the center of Japan around 1,300 years ago and thus has a huge number of cultural treasures.

Since the summer of 1999, Nara Park has held Nara Tokae, a yearly event where the park is lit up at night by more than 10,000 candles. The toka of a candle is the lump created around the tip of a wick and is traditionally thought to be auspicious.

There will be 10 main areas that will be lit up by candles. Ukigumoenchi is located in the middle of Nara Park, and there the candles will be arranged like stars in the night sky so visitors can feel as though they are walking through the Milky Way.

During the weekends, there will be a stage in front of a pond at Shin Kokai-do. Harpist Mayumi Takemoto is set to perform Aug. 5, and Osaka-based pop group Easel Art Studio and saxophonists Doux Quarted are set to take the stage Aug. 11 and 12 respectively.

Event organizers will also offer visitors an opportunity to light candles at three different places for ¥1,000. Just watch you don't blow them out!

Nara Tokae takes place in Nara Park in Nara from Aug. 5- 14. Candles will be lit up from 7 p.m. till 9:45 p.m. Admission is free, but it will cost ¥1,000 to take part in lighting the candles. For more information, call (0742) 21-7515 or visit www.toukae.jp (English, Chinese, Korean and French).

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