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Nara

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.

Guides

  • star

    Take a step back into the history and culture of Japan in one of the country's oldest and most charming cities.

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  • access_time

    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.

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  • event

    Nara is the perfect destination for a day trip, being under an hour away from both Osaka and Kyoto.

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  • flight_takeoff

    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.

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  • restaurant

    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).

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More about Nara

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Nara: Origins

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Top spots

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Toshodai-ji Temple

This historically significant temple got its name from the fact that its first abbot, Ganjin, was from Toh, of the Tang Dynasty in China, and that ...Read more

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94 by 11 viewers
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Todai-Ji

Todaiji is most famous for its giant Great Buddha statue, which was decreed to be built by Emperor Shomu in 743. The origins of Todaiji are from a ...Read more

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93 by 82 viewers
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Kasuga Taisha Shrine

The Kasuga Taisha was established at the same time as when Nara became appointed as the capital of Japan and is Nara’s most representative shrine. ...Read more

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91 by 45 viewers
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Horyu-ji Temple

Horyuji is home to some of the world’s oldest intact wooden structures, conveying the images of Japan as it was over 1,300 years ago during the Asu...Read more

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90 by 9 viewers
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Nara Park

The Nara Park is a large park located in the centre of this old capital of Japan. Established in 1880. It is where many of Nara’s historical sites ...Read more

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89 by 137 viewers
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Nigatsu-do Temple

Nigatsudo, which literally means “the hall of the second month”, is a significant subcomplex of Todaiji Temple. Located to the east of the Great Bu...Read more

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89 by 20 viewers
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Higashimuki Shotengai Shopping Street

Higashimuki Shotengai is a shopping arcade leading South from Kintetsu Nara station towards Nara-machi. Here you will find lots of cafes, restauran...Read more

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80 by 15 viewers
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Wakakusayama

Mount Wakakusa is located on the edge of Nara city and is famous for the annual Wakakusa Yamayaki festival.Read more

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