Spots in Nara Area

  • Tōdai-ji
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    4.5
    5652 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Zoushichou 406-1
    This temple which is located in Nara City is the head temple of the Kegon sect of Buddhism. The principal object of worship at the temple is Vairocana-Buddha which has become a symbol of Nara and is known as “Nara’s Big Buddha”. Emperor Shomu issued a decree to construct the Great Buddha in 743, and in order to enshrine that Great Buddha, Tōdai-ji was constructed using all the nation’s power. National Treasures such as the Nandaimon (Great South Gate), Daibutsuden (the Great Buddha), the bell tower and the Hokke-do Hall are dotted throughout the grounds of the temple. It is known internationally as a Japanese sightseeing spot with many foreign tourists also visiting the temple.

    Todai-ji is one of the most imressive temples in Japan. The grounds around the temple are also well worth visiting. Youll find extensive gardens, museums as well as treasure halls.

  • Kasuga Taisha Shrine
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    4.5
    1765 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Kasuganochou 160
    This is a Shinto shrine located in Nara City. Kasuga Taisha Shrine is the grand head shrine of approximately 1,000 Kasuga shrines nationwide. The origins to the shrine lie in the early days of the Nara period, when Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto from Kashima-jingu Shrine was enshrined at Mt. Mikasa. The main shrine of the Kasuga structure which is a National Treasure has four buildings lined up, and in addition to the majestic and splendid south Gate and middle gate, there are many things such as fine and industrial art objects which have been designated as Important Cultural Properties. The Bantoro Festival (Lantern Festival) event is held on the day of Setsubun (Bean throwing night) and on the 14th and 15th of August when around 3,000 stone lanterns and hanging lanterns are lit with fire, and many worshipers come to look at this magical sight.

    Kasuga Grand Shrine is a must to visit. However it can get too crowded during the day. The area is so beautiful especially during autumn. I recommend to visit this place early morning for good photos.

  • Nara Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Narashi Zoushichou · Kasugano Town, Noborioji Town, Takahata-machi other
    Nara Park is located directly next to the famous temples and shrine of Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, and Kofukuji Temple, as well as the Nara National Museum. The park is inhabited by sika deer, designated as a Natural Monument, and visitors can observe these wild animals up close. Throughout the year important buildings in the park are lit up at night, which engenders a magical atmosphere very different to that of the daytime.
  • Kohfukuji Temple
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    4.0
    1318 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Noboriojichou 48
    This is a temple located in Nara City. Yamashina-dera Temple has its origin as a temple that was established in Kyoto in 669 by the wife of Fujiwara no Kamatari. The temple was destroyed by fires many times and was rebuilt, after which it ended up similar to temple ruins during the anti-Buddhist movement in the Meiji period, although the Tokon-do Hall, the five-storied pagoda, the Hokuen-do Hall and the three-storied pagoda which survived have been designated as National Treasures. The five-storied pagoda which is illuminated at night-time has become a symbol of Nara. There are also many Buddhist images enshrined at the temple which have been designated as National Treasures and Cultural Assets such as the Ashura statue.

    The five storied pagoda is a quick walk (10-15min.) distance from the train station and depending on which route you take, probably the first milestone you will encounter in Nara. It could be...

  • Toshodaiji Temple
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    4.5
    634 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Gojouchou 13-46
    The head temple of the Ritsu school of Buddhism, one of the six sects of Buddhism brought to Japan during the Nara period which flourished in ancient Nara. The temple was erected in 759 by Jianzhen, a priest who traveled to Japan from Tang China. Originally the private temple of Jianzhen, it started out quite simple, but key structures such as the main temple were completed by the efforts of his disciples after his passing. The temple contains numerous designated National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, such as a seated figure of Vairocana, the temple’s principle object of worship. A seated statue of Jianzhen, a National Treasure, is displayed only once a year from June 5 to 7, the dates surrounding the time he died.

    NARA is great. All the beautiful temples and grounds with the deer are awesome to see. Use the circle line bus to get around. Autumn is good time to visit.

  • Yakushiji Temple
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    4.0
    489 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Nishinokyouchou 457
    Together with the Kohfukuji Temple, the Yakushiji Temple is the headquarters of the Hosso school of Buddhism. The temple was built in 680 in the then-capital of Fujiwara-kyo by Emperor Tenmu to pray for the recovery of his ill consort, who later succeeded him as Empress Jito. The temple was moved to its current location in 718. Originally, the temple was comprised of a magnificent number of structures connected via galleries, but, excluding the East Pagoda, these were destroyed by fire and war. The colorful main hall, West Pagoda, central gate, galleries, and the largest grand hall inside the grounds have been rebuilt. The East Pagoda, a National Treasure and the temple’s only original structure remaining from when it was first erected, appears at first glance to be a six-tier pagoda but is in fact a three tier-one. (Note: The East Pagoda is scheduled to undergo restoration until June 2020.)

    If you havent visited Kyotos temple districts or want to see temples without the crowds in and around Kyoto, or youd like to see more temples, and youre in Nara overnight, Yakushi-ji and...

  • Hasedera Temple
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    4.5
    372 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Sakuraishi Hase 731-1
    This prosperous temple, the head temple of the Shingon-shu Buzan-ha sect of Buddhism, is the eight of 33 temples on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. It was said to have originated with the installation of the Douban Hokke Sessou Zu (a bronze plaque carved with the Hokke Sutra), a National Treasure, by Domyo Shonin for Emperor Tenmu in 686. It is famous for its large collection of cultural properties, including the Juichimen (11-headed Kanzeon Bodhisattva), the temple's principal object of worship. The temple has a number of historically and cultural significant points of interest, including the 399-step stone stairs (an Important Cultural Property) leading from the Deva gate to the main temple (a National Treasure), the hanging lanterns suspended from the ceiling, and more. In late April, more than 7,000 peonies bloom in the temple gardens.

    what a peaceful place ! I have been there with my wife. Weather was bad but we enjoyed a lot. Highly Recommending.

  • Omiwa Shrine
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    4.5
    332 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Sakuraishi Miwa 1422
    Omiwa Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan and the site has been sacred ground for some of the earliest religious practices. The Miwa Torii (shrine gate), the gate marking the transition from the profane to the sacred, and the worship hall have been designated as important cultural assets of the country. Although we know from records that the worship hall was founded in the Kamakura period, the shrine as we know it now was rebuilt by Tokugawa Ietsuna, the fourth Tokugawa shogun. The enshrined deity is revered as a guardian deity of human life in the sense of building a nation. People are welcome to join the festivals held here throughout the year. Omiwa Shrine is approximately five minutes on foot from JR Miwa Station.

    Omiwa Shrine is the oldest Shinto shrine in Japan. Its wide precinct is filled with a majestic atmosphere. There is a hall of reverence, but there is no tangible body of god. Mt. Miwa, behind this...

  • Roadside Station Hari T-R-S
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    3.5
    90 Reviews
    Transportation
    Nara Pref. Narashi Harichou 345
    This is a Roadside Station next to the Hari Interchange in Hari-cho, Nara City on the National Route 25. As well as Italian cuisine and fast food, there are many restaurants, souvenir and local produce shops, a natural hot spring and pool, Hari Onsen Land, and Hari TRS (terrace) Berry Farm, the largest tourist farm in west Japan (reservations required) in the facility.

    The new Nara JR station was well planned for its customers with clear indication signs as well as smooth passenger flow for visitors. The train station was on upper level and was led down to the...

  • Kinpusen-ji Temple Zaoudou
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    4.5
    263 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Yoshinogunyoshinochou Yoshinoyama
    The symbol of Mt. Yoshino and the head temple of the Shugendo syncretic Shinto-Buddhist religion. It is believed that the temple was founded by the mystic En no Gyoja in the latter half of the seventh century. The Zaoudou hall standing proudly on the heights of the Kinpu Mountain Range was erected in 1592 and is the second largest ancient wooden building in Japan after the Hall of the Great Buddha at Todai-ji Temple. Three statues of Zao, a Shinto manifestation of the Buddha, are enshrined in the temple, representing the past, present, and future. Each is seven meters tall and a must-see during your visit.

    There are probably only two feasible ways to get here:either drive up the mountain in a one-line-two-way zig zag road, or take Kintetsu line to Yoshino station then hire a cab. Either way is an...

  • Gango-ji Temple
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    4.0
    259 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Chuinchou 11
    A Buddhist temple located in Chuin Town, Nara City. The temple was originally constructed as the Hoko-ji Temple (Asuka-dera Temple), Japan’s oldest Buddhist temple, by Soga no Umako in the end of sixth century. The temple was later moved to its current location and given a new name with the transfer of the capital to ancient Nara. In addition to being registered as part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara World Heritage Site, the temple’s Gokuraku-do hall, Zen meditation room, and five-tier pagoda are all designated National Treasures. Special themed exhibitions of the temple’s collection of artwork and treasures are held each year in spring and autumn in the special exhibition room of the temple’s Horin-kan hall.

    This temple is just south of the old town in Nara. It is very impressive in its quiet way. The museum is quite lovely and full of ancient sculpture. May I suggest Ninety-Nine Postcards from Nara as...

  • Naramachi Koshi no Ie Residence
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    4.5
    203 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Gangoujichou 44
    A museum which recreates the appearance of a merchant’s house in old Nara-machi, a style of living which existed from the end of the Edo through the Meiji periods. The building is also known as the “Eel Bed”) thanks to its narrow entrance and lengthwise design, which resembles an eel trap. Visitors can experience how life was lived in such houses and learn about the lives of townspeople during this time period.

    Its a free attraction, and fascinating to see how homes were once constructed--the literature was very helpful. We were actually walking between Harushika Brewery and Gango-Ji Temple in Naramachi...

  • Shinyakushi-ji Temple
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    4.5
    212 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Takabatakechou 1352
    A Buddhist temple built by Empress Komyo in prayer for the recovery of illness of Emperor Shomu in 747. During the Nara period, the temple was one of the 10 most important in Nara and over 100 priests studied on its vast grounds. In the Heian period, however, the temple’s size was reduced due to lightning strikes and typhoons. The main temple nave looks as it did when first erected and enshrines a seated figure of Bhaisajyaguru, the temple’s main object of worship, as well as standing figures of the Twelve Divine Generals.

    This temple is approximately 1,300 years old and the main hall dates back that far. The grounds are small in comparison to its days of glory, but theres still much to see here. This neighborhood is...

  • Tanzan Jinja
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    4.5
    158 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Sakuraishi Tounomine 319
    This Shinto shrine’s origin dates back to when statesman Fujiwara no Kamatari’s son, Fujiwara no Joe, had his father’s ashes moved here and built a 13-tier pagoda in 678. Prior to the official separation of Buddhism and Shintoism in the country, the shrine was a Buddhist temple called the Tonomine Temple. The pagoda, rebuilt in 1532 and a designated Important Cultural Property, is the only extant 13-tier pagoda in the world. Beyond the shrine stands a mountain said to be the location where Emperor Tenjin and Fujiwara no Kamatari discussed the Taika Reform. The mountain thus came to be called “Tanzan,” or the Mountain of Discussion, hence the shrine’s name. In the spring, a 600-year old usuzumi cherry tree and designated Natural Monument comes in to bloom, and the shrine is thus known as a beautiful site for cherry blossom viewing. In addition, in autumn, visitors can enjoy the shrine’s fall foliage when it is colored by over 3,000 maple trees.

    I cannot understand why the Tanzan Jinja and pagoda are not covered by the Nara coach tours. We first saw the 13 storey pagoda mentioned in a JR magazine, but the Nara tourist office had no...

  • Asuka-dera Temple
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    4.5
    190 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Takaichigunasukamura Asuka 682
    Japan’s first fully-fledged Buddhist temple, the Asuka-dera was completed in 596 by through the efforts of the samurai Soga no Umako, who promoted Buddhism in the nation. The temple’s principle object of worship, a bronze seated figure of Gautama Buddha popularly known as the “Asuka Great Buddha,” is Japan’s oldest Buddhist image and a designated Important Cultural Property. The Hana-eshiki Ceremony, which celebrates the birth of Gautama Buddha, is also famous for having first been conducted in Japan here. The temple was once quite large, with a central tower, three-sided main temple building, and encircling galleries, but most of the temple buildings were lost in fire due in the Kamakura period due to lightning strikes. The current main temple building was reconstructed in the Edo period.

    No need for me to emphasize “the oldest Budda statue” part of this temple. Some tips on driving there if you use Google map: This temple is in a small village and near quite large rice fields. While...

  • Tamaki-jinja Shrine
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    4.5
    110 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Yoshinoguntotsukawamura Tamaigawa 1
    Tamaki-jinja Shrine is a miraculous shrine near the top of the 1,076 meter Mt. Tamaki at the southern end of the Omine Mountains. Legend says that the shrine was built in 37 B.C. in the era of Emperor Sujin in order to guard against fire at the imperial castle and to ward off evil spirits. The shrine is on the World Heritage Omine Okugake-michi (paths) and has prospered as a spiritual retreat for Buddhist Shugendo followers from Kumano and Omine for a very long time. In the grounds of the shrine are gigantic cedar trees including some cedar trees said to be 3,000 years old, and in 2004 the temple was designated a World Heritage Site under the name Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.

    Its really a beautiful shrine to feel nature, culture and history. Dont forget to hike up to Tamaishisha. If sky is clear, you can see the ocean from the shrine and the top of Mt. Tamaki.

  • Isonokami Jingu Shrine
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    4.0
    119 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Tenrishi Furuchou 384
    A Shinto shrine located in Furu Town, Tenri City, Nara Prefecture. The head patron shrine of the Mononobe clan, it is also one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan. The front shrine, said to have been donated by Emperor Shirakawa in 1081, and the Nanatsu-Saya-no-Tachi (Seven-Branched Sword), believed to be made in 369 and the same mentioned in the ancient Nihon shoki, are both National Treasures.

    The Nihon Shoki and the Kojiki mentions the Isnokami Jingu together with Ise Jingu Shrine (aka Isonomiya Shrine); the two are the Japans first Shinto shrines. Isnokami Jingu is also considered to...

  • Saidai-ji Temple
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    4.0
    90 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Saidaijishibamachi 1-1-5
    A Buddhist temple located in Saidaijishiba Town, Nara City, Nara Prefecture. The head temple of Shingon Risshu Buddhism, the temple’s history stretches back to the time when Empress Shotoku commissioned of statures of the Four Heavenly Kings in 765. The temple’s principal object of worship, a standing stature of Shaka Nyorai (Shakyamuni) housed in the main temple building, as well as a seated stature of Ragaraja (esoteric school deity of love) in the Aizen-do hall (not provided for public viewing) and an 11-faced standing stature of Kannon (the Goddess of Mercy) in the Shio-do hall are all designated Important Cultural Properties. The temple also possesses various other treasures, including rare Buddhist images, esoteric ritual implements, and sculptures from the Heian and Kamakura periods, a portion of which are displayed in the temple’s Shuho-kan hall.

    Saidaji is less known probably due to its size and it is a few stations away from Nara Kintetsu station. It is located less than 4 min walk from Kintetsu Yamato Saidaji Station. Visited this temple...

  • Chugu-ji Temple
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    4.0
    142 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Ikoma-gun Ikarugacho Horyuji Kita 1-1-2
    "This Buddhist temple is affiliated with Prince Shotoku and is also the oldest Buddhist convent in Japan. Today, the temple adjoins the Horyuji's Eastern Precinct, but it is said to have originally been built opposite the Horyuji to the west with Prince Shotoku's Ikaruganomiya palace in between. Particularly worthy of seeing is the temple's wooden statue depicting a bodhisattva in the half-lotus position. One of only a very few such statues making use of the so-called ""archaic smile,"" some count it alongside the Sphinx and the Mona Lisa as one of the three great smiling artworks of the world. A replica of the Tenjukoku Shucho Mandala, the oldest work of embroidery art in Japan and a designated National Treasure, is enshrined in the main temple building."

    This old temple is adjacent to Horyuji’s Yumedono, and you you hold the ticket for Horyuji, you can get a discount for admission. In this temple, there is a famous Miroku Buddha, which is designated...

  • Okadera Temple
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    4.0
    102 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Takaichigunasukamura Oka 806
    A Shingon Buzan Buddhist temple located in Asuka Village, Takaichi County, Nara Prefecture and the seventh station on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. The temple is said to have been founded by the high priest Gien on the site of a hill palace he had received where Prince Kusakabe, son of Emperor Tenmu, once lived. The temple’s official name is the Ryugai-ji Temple. Long worshiped as sacred ground providing protection from evil and harm, the temple is visited by great numbers of worshippers seeking to ensure their safety during unlucky years. The temple has many highlights, including Nyoirin Kannon Zazo (seated figure of Cintamani-cakra, a designated Important Cultural Property and Japan’s oldest earthen image) and a crimson-lacquered Deva gate and. In mid-April, some 3,000 rhododendrons come into bloom on the temple’s grounds; the fall foliage in autumn is also spectacular.

    According to Oka Temples legend, its founder Gaien confronted and defeated a dragon that was making mischief in the 8th century town of Asuka. After its defeat the dragon was confined to a pond...

Nara Areas

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With a reputation almost as stellar as that of Kyoto, Nara is a must-visit for those searching for the remains of "traditional Japan." The largely green Nara city holds the majority of the prefecture's treasures, such as the iconic Todai-ji Temple, in which a 15-meter tall Great Buddha sits, and Nara Park, where deer flock to befriend passersby. While mountains are by no means hard to come by in this area, for hiking with a reward, head to the Kii Mountains' Yoshino district in spring, when the hillsides put on an impressive display of white and pink cherry blossoms.

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