A cradle of traditional Japanese history and culture, Nara breathes the spirit of Yamato - the Japanese nation. Formerly known as “Heijyokyo", Nara was the first capital of Japan, from 710 -794 AD. This rich history is evident in the Heijyokyo Palace, which was built in the architectural style of Chang’an, in the Tang dynasty. While this period of prosperity has passed, Nara, the ‘Capital of Temples’ is still renowned for various cultural heritage sites including Todaiji, Toshodai Temple and Horiuji Monastery.
While the historic temples are impressive, many people come for the naughty Nara deer. Herds of wild deer can be found in Nara Park, Kasuga-taisha and, even, on the road. Don’t be deceived by their innocent and gentle eyes - they are after the deer senbei (rice snacks) in your hand!
The natural scenery in Nara is also worth seeing. Kasugayama Primeval Forest and Wakakusa Hill offer calming surroundings in which one can regain peace of mind. Located in the Kansai region, Nara is near to both Osaka and Kyoto and is a great option for a day-trip.
Take a step back into the history and culture of Japan in one of the country's oldest and most charming cities.
Spring and autumn are peak seasons in Nara. The beautiful cherry blossoms bloom in late March, while the magnificent autumn foliage in starts in mid-November.
Nara is the perfect destination for a day trip, being under an hour away from both Osaka and Kyoto.
Kansai International Airport (KIA) located in Izumisano City is the main airport serving Osaka, Kyoto and the entire Kansai region. From there, JR trains and airport buses provide the most direct access into Nara.
The food culture of the ancient capital of Nara is influenced by its past as the center of power in Japanese Buddhism during the Nara era in the 8th century. Local specialties to try include nyumen (thin noodles in a hot broth), kakinohazushi (sushi wrapped in persimmon leaves) and mikasayaki (red-bean pancakes).