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Spots in Nara Area

  • Kasuga Taisha Shrine
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    4.5
    1524 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.

    Another amazing UNESCO Heritage site to visit in Nara. Nara is easily accessible via train either from Kyoto or from Osaka. Enjoy the free running deers and also this Kasuga Taisha shrine. Beautiful...

  • Tōdai-ji
    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.
  • 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.
  • Omiwa Shrine
    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.
  • Horyu-ji Temple
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    4.5
    526 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Ikomagunikarugachou Houryujisannai 1-1
    This is a temple inside Horyuji-Sannai, Ikaruga Town. It was established in 607 by Prince Shotoku and Empress Suiko, and the current temple building is celebrated as one of the world's oldest wooden structures and Japan's first World Heritage Site. Inside the grounds are 55 pieces of architecture designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, and in the Daihozoin (Great Treasure Hall) are stored a great many important treasures from the Asuka period. 

    Got there early expecting to see crowds waiting to get in, but not so. Maybe the 1,500 Yen price tag may have scared some off. Buses do go from Nara station, but pretty irregularly, so try the train...

  • Kashihara Jingu Shrine
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    4.0
    228 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Kashiharashi Kumechou 934
    This shrine is dedicated to Emperor Jimmu and his wife. The shrine was erected by Emperor Meiji in 1890 based on the Nihon Shoki, one of Japan’s oldest history books, which records that the Emperor Jimmu was enthroned at the site. Located at the foot of Mt. Unebi, the hinoki bark thatched, bare-wood main shrine and kagura hall harmonize perfectly with the thick and verdant forest which surround the shrine’s gravel path. The main shrine was a sanctuary in the Kyoto Imperial Palace that was moved here.

    Hi my name is Kevin I'm Australian but Ive started managing a log cabin cafe near Kashihara Jingu mae (In fact I can see the unebi mountain from the cafe and the Kashihara Jingu shrine just on the...

  • Yakushiji Temple
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    4.0
    422 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.)

    The temple site is a bit of a ride from the train station in Nara but well worth the time and effort. We visited in June 2018 and although some of it was covered for restoration the overall...

  • Shigisan Chogosonshi-ji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Ikomagunhegurichou Shigisan 2280-1
    This is a temple constructed by Prince Shotoku in the latter half of the fifth century, which stands at an elevation of 437 meters halfway up Mt. Shigi. There is a legend that Mt. Shigi originated when, on the hour of Tiger (around 4:00 a.m.) of the day of Tiger of the year of Tiger, the deity Bishamonten (guardian god of Buddhism) appeared and gave the prince the divine protection , thanks to the Bishamonten the Prince enshrined it. So the temple took the tiger as its guardian deity and is decorated here and there with papier tigers. In cherry blossom season over 2,000 stone lanterns light up the cherry trees at night, and in the autumn the whole mountain is colored with close to 1,000 trees changing their leaves.
  • Kohfukuji Temple
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    4.0
    1142 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.

    Having been to see the giant Buddha as our first stop in Nara, we found this temple a bit underwhelming. Yes, it had pleasant grounds and a nice pagoda, but it didn’t have the wow factor.

  • Toshodaiji Temple
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    4.5
    554 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.

    Prepare to walk, but then you’ll see spectacular buildings and views. Don’t miss the garden. Easy access from train station by public bus.

  • Hasedera Temple
    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.
  • Tenkawa Daibenzaiten-sha Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Yoshinoguntenkawamura Tsubonouchi 107
    Tenkawa Daibenzaiten-sha Shrine (Tenkawa-jinja) is a shrine dedicated to Benzaiten (Sarasvati), the deity of art and music. It is considered one of the Three Great Shrines of Benzaiten. The shrine is famous for attracting many entertainers to its doors. It also has a history of being the place where the Buddhist monk, Kobo Daishi, retreated to for a thousand days. The solemn atmosphere found here in the mountains cleanses the heart and in recent years it has become popular as a power spot. There is also a large collection of valuable artifacts related to Noh, and Noh performances are held at the shrine three times a year.
  • Murouji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Udashi Murou 78
    A temple of the Omoto school of Shingon Buddhism, unlike sacred Mt. Koya, this temple was open to women, thus resulting in its nickname, the Woman’s Mt. Koya. The temple was erected in the Nara period in prayer for the recovery from illness of Emperor Kammu. The rooves of buildings such as the main hall and nave are shingled and thatched with hinoki bark in place of clay tiles. The temple’s five-tier pagoda, a designated National Treasure, is Japan’s smallest outdoor five tier pagoda. The temple enshrines numerous Buddhist statues designated National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, such as the standing figure of Gautama Buddha that is the main object of worship as well as a standing image of Maitreya.
  • Tanzan Jinja
    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.
  • Nara Palace Site
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Sakichou
    The Nara Palace Site, which served as the center of politics, culture, and the economy of Japan for some 70 years after the capital was moved here from Fujiwara-kyo in 710. Recreations of the Daigokuden Hall, Suzaku Gate, and East Palace Garden stand on the spacious grounds of the site, exuding a solemn atmosphere. The adjoining Nara Palace Site Museum and excavaion site exhibition hall display artefacts and remains as they were found in the area. In addition to being a nationally-designated Special Historical Site, the palace area was also designated as Japan’s first World Heritage Site due to its archeological significance.
  • Tamaki-jinja Shrine
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    4.5
    88 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.

    It's a long long way to reach because this sacred place has been worshipped by only a few, and not so many visit even today. Surrounded by deep forest, actually in mountains, hidden place but worthy...

  • Isonokami Jingu Shrine
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    4.0
    94 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 Japan's first Shinto shrines. Isnokami Jingu is also considered to...

  • Roadside Station Hari T-R-S
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    3.5
    7 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    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.

    針テラスの中にある施設ですが、ぱっとしません。 せんとくんの置きものがありました。 少し観光案内のパンフレット等もありました。

  • Abe Monjuin
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    4.0
    79 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Sakuraishi Abe 645
    This is a Kegon sect Buddhist temple in Abe, Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture, and was built as a shrine for the Abe Kurahashimaro family in the Taika Reform in 645. The principal object of worship is the Monju Bosatsu known for the proverb 'Two heads are better than one.' The national treasure Wooden Image of Kishi Monju Bosatsu and the four flanking images created by Kaikei boast Japan's largest size. Inside the grounds are three ancient burial mounds, as well as the highlight Kinkaku Ukimido Reihokan which holds representations of Benzaiten and Abe no Nakamaro. In spring and autumn the cosmos bloom in profusion, and in September visitors can enjoy a cosmos field maze.

    本尊の渡海文殊像は国宝、桧造りで7mもあるらしい。すぐまじかで拝観することが出来ました。仏像も堂塔も歴史も、境内の古墳を含めて超一流、創建1400年に迫ろうかと云う素晴らしい寺院でした。池に浮かぶ金閣浮御堂は水面に投影されて一層素晴らしい。毎年の干支を表示している庭の巨大な花畑はテレビ局が撮影に来るほどのもの。檀家を有さない寺院の経営は大変かとは思うが、和尚の余りにも商売熱心なのは神聖な寺院として...

  • Hozan-ji Temple (Shoten-san)
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    4.0
    65 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Ikomashi Monzenchou 1-1
    The head temple of Shingon Risshu Buddhism, the Hozan-ji is located in Monzen Town, Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture and was founded in 1678 by Tankai. A figure of Daishokangiten is enshrined in the Shotendo hall as the temple’s tutelary god; worshipped by people seeking benefits in the present world, Daishokangiten is also known as “Ikoma Shoten-san,” the god of prosperous business. The main temple building, the oldest structure on the temple grounds, houses the temple’s principal object of worship, a wooden figure of Acala designated an Important Cultural Property. Some of the temple’s many highlights include the Shishi-kaku, a Western-style building erected in the Meiji period, and the Hanya-kutsu cave, where the mystic En no Ozuno (shaman) made offerings of the Widsom Sutras. A Kangiten temple festival is held every 1st and 16th of the month, and this event is attended by numerous worshipers seeking benefits in this life.

    奈良県生駒市にある宝山寺(ほうざんじ)は、江戸時代に開山し、商売の神として大阪商人の信仰を集め、京都の皇室や徳川将軍家の祈願もありました。現在でも年間300万人の参拝客を集めています^o^ Houzanji in Ikoma-city, Nara Prefecture, opened in 1678 in the Edo period and gathered the faith of the...

Nara Main 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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