NaraA 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.
Places to visit in Nara
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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 it was founded as a place for Buddhist training under his guidance. This was the first temple in Japan to be dedi
Mount Wakakusa is located on the edge of Nara city and is famous for the annual Wakakusa Yamayaki festival.
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 temple called Kinshoji which was founded in 728 as a resting place for the spirit of Crown Price Motoi, son of Em
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 Asuka era. The founding of Horyuji is recorded in historical engravings on the back of the halo of the Yakusi Nyorai
Nigatsudo, which literally means “the hall of the second month”, is a significant subcomplex of Todaiji Temple. Located to the east of the Great Buddha Hall, on the hillside of Mount Wakakusa. It is renowned for a repentance service dedicated to the image
The temple was established in Nara at the same time the city became the capital in 710. At the height of the Fujiwara clan's power the temple consisted of over 150 buildings. The current layout counts about 14 structures.
Isui-en Garden is a large traditional Japanese-style garden that dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1868).
Only a 3-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, Noborioji Hotel offers modern luxurious accommodations with warm lighting and free wired internet access. Guests can enjoy full-course French cuisines and refresh with aromatherapy
Guesthouse Kohaku is located in the centre of the historical Naramachi area, full of traditional houses remaining since the 17th century.
The century old Nara Hotel features classic Japanese architecture and elegant rooms with free wired internet. Located on Nara Park’s beautiful hills, it overlooks the ancient capital’s historic sites.
Just a 5-minute walk from Nara Park and a 10-minute walk from Isuien Garden, Hotel Pagoda offers free WiFi access in public areas and has rooms with an LCD TV.
B & B Nishimine
Only a 5-minute drive from historical Muro-ji Temple, B & B Nishimine offers cozy accommodation with free wired internet. A free shuttle is available from Kintetsu Sanbomatsu Train Station with an advance reservation.
Located a 3-minute taxi ride from Hasedera Train Station, Itaniya boasts a 150-year old history and offers a traditional ryokan accommodation with a hot spring bath.
Tsukihitei is located in the Kasugayama Primeval Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Each guest room has a Japanese-style decor and offer panoramic forest views, traditional tatami (woven-straw) floors, and shoji paper screens.