Category Archives: Event

Blue Valentine’s at Nara Park

Nara Rurie Illumination’s main attraction, Winter Tanabata Road, at the Kasugano International Forum .

The week of Valentine’s Day glowed anew as the annual Nara Rurie illumination event was held nightly from February 8 to 14, 2019 in the surrounding areas of Nara Park (奈良公園), Todaiji Temple (東大寺), and Kasuga Taisha Shrine (春日大社). Although it offers a romantic scene and is popular among couples, this event is not dedicated for the celebration of Valentine’s Day. It is actually for honoring the “happiness corridors” (しあわせ回廊, shiawase kairō), which are the pathways connecting Todaiji temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, and Kofukuji Temple (興福寺): Nara’s three important sacred sites. “Rurie” (瑠璃絵) is a term meaning “azure corridor,” which alludes to the Silk Road trade where azure, a blue-colored mineral was introduced to Japan. It has ever since been regarded as a sacred color associated with happiness. Illuminating the “happiness corridors” with a sacred azure hue has then been a tradition to bring happiness and clarity of mind in prayer for its visitors.

What a deer sight among blue lights.
Visitors hanging tanzaku on the trees (left). Early bloom of pretty plum blossoms also get attention (right).

Located at the heart of the area is Kasugano International Forum, which houses the main event attraction. Named the Winter Tanabata Road, it is a garden covered with of blue and white LED lights. Not to be missed are some deer prancing amidst the lights, which in no better way represents Nara Park. Entrance to this main attraction can be either free or paid. The free-zone gives access to a remote viewing of the LED-clad gardens, while the paid area allows a close up experience for a minimal fee of ¥500. As a form of ticket, visitors are provided with a tanzaku (短尺), which is an apple-shaped paper where they can write wishes. The tanzaku can then be hung on trees situated at the end of the Winter Tanabata Road.

Other events outside of the Kasugano International Forum includes special night admissions to the surrounding museums, shrines and temples, Fortune Cocoa selling (or しあわせココア – shiawase cocoa) , Lighting Yorukagura (光の夜神楽, a sacred Shinto dance), and Sky Lantern Anniversary event. Capping off each year’s event on Feb 14th is a ten-minute fireworks display at the Kasugano Park to commemorate the Nara Park anniversary (turning 139 years this 2019).

Visitors can’t get enough of the sea of blue lights.

This annual tradition, now on its 10th year, is just one of the many events that are held within the vicinity of NAIST. Aside from visiting famous tourist attractions, students should not miss cultural events such as the Nara Rurie in order to absorb and appreciate Japanese culture.

One Groovy Afternoon: Mahoroba Dance Festival 2018

Culture and dance met onstage during the Mahoroba Dance Festival 2018, which was held last November 25th at the Nara Centennial Hall. This three-hour annual event started in 2009 as a pre-event for the 1300th anniversary of the Heijō transition capital, with an aim to showcase traditional Japanese culture, particularly during the Tenpyo era, through various types of dances.

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Not Your Ordinary Afternoon Break: NAIST Tea Time #15

At NAIST, the Victorian tradition of afternoon tea time has taken on a different meaning and purpose.  Unlike the conventional scones, biscuits, or cakes, this Tea Time includes some light snacks from different parts of the world.

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The 79th JSAP Autumn Meeting

Several faculty members and students from the NAIST Division of Materials Science attended the 79th JSAP (Japan Society of Applied Physics) Autumn Meeting held at Nagoya Congress Center last September 18-21, 2018. The JSAP organizes two annual technical meetings during the spring and autumn seasons. About 6,000 participants joined this year’s autumn meeting with almost 4,000 papers presented.

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Jugoya: The Night of the Full Moon

Templish is a volunteer hands-on learning program of Japanese culture for elementary school children.  The name is a play on “temple” and “English”, as activities are facilitated in English, by members of an over-800-year old temple, Chokyu-Ji. International students from NAIST regularly volunteer to engage with the children in fun activities, with a theme that changes every month.
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International Student Welcome Party (Spring 2018)

(Featured photo provided by International Student Affairs staff)

How do you start your new life at NAIST?  Becoming a new student at a new university is like beginning a new chapter of a book. A lot of people learn new skills from classrooms. They also gain new experiences from their new friends. Many students know more about their goals in life. It seems like everything in the new university is the beginning of a new journey!

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A clean and beautiful environment at NAIST. Photo by Pattaraporn Tulathum

At the opening of every semester, there are many new Japanese students and international students who begin their studies at NAIST. For this spring semester, the first week of April has many events for new students. For example, there is an orientation for all students, the TOEIC-IP test, and the entrance ceremony. On the other hand, some events are prepared specifically for international students. One of which is the International Students Welcome Party.

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[April 5th, 2018] The Entrance Ceremony begins! Photo by Pattaraporn Tulathum


The welcome party for new international students was held on the evening of Friday (April 11) hosted by the International Student Affairs Division. More than 40 new students from different countries joined this event. These students included Master students, Doctoral students, and Research students. In addition, some of the tutors, who will take care of the new international students for the first 3 months, joined in the fun, too.

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Participating international students were waiting for the upcoming party.  Photo by International Student Affairs staff

This party began with a warm welcome from the Vice President of NAIST and all of the staff. The atmosphere was energetic yet friendly.

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Prof. Kakiuchi, Vice President of NAIST, welcomed new international students at the beginning of this party. Photo by International Student Affairs staff

Participating students introduced themselves to each other. They enjoyed talking with staff members and other students who have also just arrived from overseas.

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Everyone introduced themselves, interests, and hobbies. Photo by International Student Affairs staff

After the ceremony, participants had dinner together.  There were a variety of foods including Japanese food, halal food, snacks, and drinks. While having dinner, everyone also enjoyed light conversations.

After ceremony section, we had dinner together. Photo by International Student Affairs staff

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There were a variety of food and snacks for all! Photo by Pattaraporn Tulathum

That was fun! We look forward to a lot of activities like this within the school year. Hope to see you in the next one!

The Secret Sauce to Recycling Success

The NAIST Global Student Network (GSK) is on a mission to save the environment, and some students’ wallets along the way. The GSK reopened the Recycling Market last April 2 to 4, and we had the opportunity to have a look and a quick interview with the head of the event. Despite the many challenges, this year’s run of the Recycling Market is one of the most successful yet!

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