Kasuga Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the most important Shinto complex in the Kansai region. An original part of Nara’s building plan, the shrine was rebuilt every 20 years as a purification rite. That process went on for centuries and stopped over a hundred years ago, but you can still see the amount of effort that went into each rebuild in the ornate and elaborate woodwork, its gorgeous bright red contrasting with the deep green of the Kasugayama Primeval Forest. All the walkways and most of the porches are lined with lanterns that were donated by the faithful. It’s worth the price of admission to go into the shrine proper, then head out to the woods, where dozens more shrines are hidden in the trees. Also worth visiting is the Treasure House, which has ritual objects from hundreds of years of worship.