Culture / Tour Spots in Nara Area

  • Naramachi Mechanical Toy Museum
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    4.0
    75 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Narashi Inyouchou 7
    Located inside a traditional Naramachi townhouse, this hands-on museum allows guests to touch and play with toys from yesteryear. The museum's permanent exhibits feature reproductions of mechanical toys from the Edo and later periods which guests can play with. It also hosts events including seminars where participants can try their hand at making toys.

    The mechanical toy museum is a must! Its free, which feels weird after having enjoyed our visit so much. The lady who was showing us around was very pleasant and spoke good english. Personally we...

  • Nara National Museum
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    3.5
    2 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Narashi Noboriojichou 50
    This is a museum which opened in Nara City in 1895. The “Nara Buddhist Sculpture Hall (in the main building)” which was designed by the court architect, Katayama Tokuma is a Western-style architectural structure from the Meiji period and has been designated as an Important Cultural Property. There are four exhibition halls in the museum, with the museum’s collection focusing on Japanese Buddhist art from the Asuka period up until the Kamakura period. In addition, a great number of National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties are among the artifacts held and exhibited at the museum. The museum is famous for opening an exhibition of “Shosoin-ten” (Exhibition of Shosoin Treasures) in Autumn every year.

    国立博物館に所属する建物で現在は仏教美術資料センターの名称になっていますが、文化財としての名称は旧奈良県物産陳列所で国の重要文化財に指定されている建物です。竣工は明治35年。外観を眺めるだけでも、ちょうど咲いた桜がとてもきれいでした。

  • Irie Taikichi Memorial Museum of Photography Nara City
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    4.0
    44 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Narashi Takabatakechou 600-1
    This is a photo gallery next to Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple in Takabatake Town, Nara City. The gallery possesses the entire 80,000 item collection of photographer Irie Taikichi, known for capturing the various Yamato scenery around Nara, and holds exhibitions based around these works and also the work of amateurs. The building itself, a work of architect Kisho Kurokawa, is another highlight and represents the importance of harmony with the environment.

    Located slightly away from the main sights, this photography museum hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year. At the time of my visit it was showing two interesting exhibitions:Irie...

  • Nara Prefectural Museum of Art
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    3.5
    29 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Narashi Noboriojichou 10-6
    This is an art museum along Prefectural Route 754 in Noborioji Town, Nara City. They opened in 1973 based on the collection of Japanese-style paintings, ukiyo-e wood block prints and handicrafts of Edo Period donated by Kanpo Yoshikawa, a student of study of folklore history and Japanese-style painter. Since then through donations from all over they have collected around 4,100 pieces of art and crafts from the Kamakura Period to the modern day. They hold special exhibitions related to the history of Nara, and art exhibitions as exchanges with international art museums.

    The National museum was closed for more than 1 month due to exhibit change over. We were sent here instead which had a super show on a well known Japanese painter with an all inclusive one man...

  • The Museum Yamato Bunkakan
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    4.0
    21 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Narashi Gakuenminami 1-11-6
    The Namako-style walls of The Museum Yamato Bunkakan are evocative of the architecture of the Momoyama Period. Its corridors are supported by imposing wooden framework reminiscent of the kitchen of a Zen monastery, while the soft light from the paper screen doors gives the interior a dignified atmosphere. The museum's collection, which centers primarily on paintings, writings, sculptures, ceramics, lacquer work, metalwork, textiles, and glasswork from Japan, China, and Korea, includes four National Treasures, 31 Important Cultural Properties, and 14 important art objects. The museum also holds exhibits on various themes and is a place where beautiful seasonal flowers can be enjoyed all year long.

    Yamato Bunkakan is a museum of cultural objects and fin arts. It is neither too big, nor too small, and as it is usually not crowded, you can appreciate the exhibit in a tranquil ambience. It is just...

  • Kashihara City Museum of Insects
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    3.5
    21 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Kashihara-shi Minamiyamacho 624
    A museum in Minamiyama-cho, Kashihara City. On display are insect and fossil specimens and in the butterfly greenhouse you can observe butterflies from the Yaeyama region of Okinawa. Besides regular themed exhibitions, special events including observation parties are held to help you learn all about insects.

    Im not an insect enthusiast, but I was taken here as part of a tour. The butterfly greenhouse was the most interesting part; I also enjoyed the social interaction in making origami insects.

  • Shouhaku Art Museum
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    4.0
    19 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Narashi Tomigaoka 2-1-4
    The Shouhaku Art Museum is located close to the Obuchi Pond in Tomigaoka 2-chome, Nara City. It was opened in 1994 thanks to works donated by Shoko Uemura and Atsushi Uemura. The collection of Nihonga (Japanese-style paintings) on display spans three generations from Shoen Uemura who was the first woman to receive the Order of Culture, to Shoko Uemura and Atsushi Uemura.

    This museum is supposed to house a collection of works by Uemura Shoen and her family. I imagine this is the reason most people visit. Beware to check the exhibit before visiting. On my visit the...

  • Daijo-in Temple Garden Heritage Center
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    4.0
    28 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Narashi Takabatakechou 1083-1
    This Heritage Center is a museum in the Garden of the Former Daijo-in Temple, which is located along National Route 169 in Takabatake-cho in the city of Nara. It contains materials connected with Daijo-in Temple, which was founded in 1087 and abandoned during the anti-Buddhist movement in the early Meiji Period (the middle of the nineteenth century). Open to the public free of charge, this museum displays a reconstructed model of what the temple looked like. A teahouse and conference rooms are available to rent.

    The people working here are wonderful. We were there when a group of women were serving tea and cakes. They were so welcoming and eager to talk with us.

  • Todaiji Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Narashi Suimonchou 100
    A museum situated inside the Todaiji Culture Center in Nara City, Nara Prefecture which preserves and displays the treasures of the Todaiji Temple. Through designated National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, you can learn about the history of the Todaiji and the thinking of the people involved in the temple since its founding, as well as the significance of the Todaiji temple itself. The museum displays a variety of sculptures, calligraphy works, and handicrafts by era, including Nikko and Gakko Bosatsu Ritsuzo (standing statues of Suryaprabha and Candraprabha), designated National Treasures; and an Important Cultural Property-designated Senju Kannon Bosatsu standing figure of a thousand-armed Kannon. The museum also holds special exhibitions.
  • Tenri University Sankokan Museum
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    4.0
    20 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Tenri-shi Morimedocho 250
    A museum along the Minami-Oji Road in Morimedo-cho, Tenri City. Their collection includes nearly 300,000 pieces related to everyday culture and classic works of art from around the world. Their permanent exhibition includes part of the collected centered around the twin themes of World Culture and World Antique Art. They also hold special exhibitions, themed exhibitions, lectures, and workshops.

    My focus was in the Japanese immigrant area where I could check the ingenuity of Japanese people when faced with local adversities. There are many objects, since kitchen itens until musical...

  • Ikaruga Cultural Property Utilization Center
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    4.0
    16 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Ikomagunikarugachou Houryujinishi 1-11-14
    This is a cultural property examination and research center located in Horyuji-nishi 1-chome, Ikaruga Town. It spreads information regarding the preservation and display of cultural properties, and promotes the study of the Fujinoki Tumulus and Ikaruga's history through images and exhibits of Fujinoki Tumulus burial accessory replicas.

    凄いお宝を持つ藤ノ木古墳の資料館だと思っていたのに小さい。とにかく小さい。たまたま秋季特別展で出土品は三点しかなかったにしても、レプリカでいいからもっと出土品を味わいたかった。本物は国立とかハイレベルな博物館に持って行かれちゃったのだろうが、レプリカでいいからもっと見せて欲しかった。周りのコスモスは11/09でもいっぱい花が咲いていて良い感じ。

  • Tenri Municipal Kurozuka Kofun Museum
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    4.0
    16 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Tenrishi Yanagimotochou 1118-2
    This museum is situated in Yanagimoto Town, Tenri City, Nara Prefecture. It is focused on the “Kurozuka Kofun”, keyhole-shaped tomb, from which a number of artifacts were excavated, including the 33-sided “Sankakuen shinjukyo” bronze mirror excavated in 1998, which has the most sides of any bronze mirror discovered in Japan. Inside, you’ll find a replica of the tomb’s pit rock chamber as well as replicas of the artifacts. There are also many materials and panel displays on the Kofun period, the Kurozuka Kofun, and the excavations. The view of the rock chamber from the second-floor stairwell is breathtaking.

    This museum is in the quiet old town of Yanagimoto, which can be easily reached from the JR train station of the same name. Theres an ancient Kofun Era burial mound at this site. The museum...

  • Takayama Chikurin'en
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    3.5
    14 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Ikoma-shi Takayamacho 3440
    "Encircled by the Ikoma Mountains, famous nationwide as a quasi-national park, Ikoma City in Nara Prefecture is known to many as a tourism destination due to this spectacular scenery as well as its abundant shrines, temples, and historic sites. This beautiful park is located on the northern extremity of Ikoma. Open to the general public, facilities include a museum with an exhibition room, Japanese room, and training room; and the Chikubuan tearoom. The park also offers a variety of activities and classes, and holds live demonstrations of Takayama tea whisk production. In addition, the park holds the nighttime Takayama Takeakari ""bamboo illumination"" event in early October which delights visitors with mysterious and magical scenery."

    If you are interested in Japanese craft-making, then this place is for you. If you are interested in strolling through gardens, then this place is for you. If you are interested in museums of...

  • Katsuragi City Sumo Museum Kehayaza
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    3.5
    14 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Katsuragishi Taima 83-1
    This is a museum along Prefectural Route 160 in Taima, Katsuragi City. They display materials related to Taima no Kehaya, the founder of sumo wrestling. Inside the museum there is also a Dohyo (Sumo wrestling ring) of identical size to those used in official Sumo tournaments, and since visitors are free to climb up onto the ring, it is a popular place for Sumo fans. 

    The history and philosophy of Sumo is fully explained, before two sumo wrestlers engage in the “best of three” bouts. Then a bold volunteer from our group accepted the offer to challenge one of the...

  • Nara Prefectural Museum of Folklore
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    4.0
    12 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Yamatokoriyama-shi Yatacho 545 Yamato Folk customs Park
    A museum in Yamato Folklore Park in Yata-cho, Yamatokooriyama City. Their collection includes daily tools and everyday articles from the Nara region. In addition to their permanent exhibitions covering pre-industrialized rice, tea, and forestry tools as well as what it was like to live during that period, they also hold special exhibitions and workshops.

    Make no mistake that this is more a park, than a museum. Furthermore, it is the best landscaped “open museum” of its kind in Japan. Take your time to fully enjoy the facilities, as the access is...

  • Takidani Hanashobu Garden
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    3.0
    1 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Udashi Murou Takidani 348
    Beautiful flowers compete for attention in the more than 33,000 meter squared Takidani Hanashobu Garden. Here you can enjoy various events such as firefly evenings, blueberry picking and making jam. In the autumn and winter, you can taste some delicious seasonal cuisine such as charcoal grilled matsutake mushroom sukiyaki (Japanese hot pot) and Botan Nabe (wild boar stew). With a restaurant, coffee shop, and shops, visitors can enjoy a full relaxing day here. The bus to Takidani Hanashobu Garden from Sanbonmatsu Station on the Kintetsu Osaka Line takes about five minutes.

    入場料は850円でした。一万坪の園内には600種100万株の勝負が植えられていますが、その他のお花類も充実しています。来訪時はしょうぶのシーズンが終わりかけであった為、あじさいの印象の方が残っています。

  • Morino-Kyuyakuen Garden
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    3.5
    12 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Udashi Oudakamishin 1880
    Morino -Kyuyakuen Garden, located on the hill behind the longstanding “Morino Yoshino-kuzu Honpo” in Uda City, Nara Prefecture, opened in the Muromachi period. It is currently the oldest private herb garden in Japan. It was opened by 11th-generation Tosuke Morino in the Kyoho period and has been maintained for nearly 300 years. Uda has been known as a region famous for herbs for a long time, and there are approximately 250 types of herbs cultivated here as naturally as possible. The seasonal blossoms are gorgeous as well, delighting visitors year-round.

    大宇陀の重要伝統的建造物群保存地区の中のハイライトである。建物の裏手を登ると、広大な薬草園が広がっている。「八代将軍徳川吉宗が推進した薬種国産化政策の一端を担った。」とのことである。昔は期間限定の公開だった記憶だが、今は年間を通しての公開であり、300円の入館料で薬草リスト・園内の薬草マップ込みの案内資料をいただける。植物画「松山本草」は現物は大阪大学総合学術博物館にあって、展覧会もなかなか開催さ...

  • Yanagisawa Bunko
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    3.5
    12 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Yamatokoriyamashi Jounaichou 2-18
    Yanagisawa Bunko is a library dedicated to local history located near to the Koriyama Castle Ruins in Jonai Town, Yamatokoriyama City. The library is home to a collection of materials donated by the Yanagisawa family who served as lord of Koriyama for generations, and books on the local area. As well as housing old texts like paintings, writings and poetry by successive lords, and artifacts pertaining to the duties and administration of the clan, the library holds exhibitions three times a year.

    柳沢家というと甲斐武田家の流れを組む武家(本当か否かしらないが)であり、5代将軍綱吉公の時代には大変な権力を得た人物を輩出した家として記憶しています。 文庫内(小さい民家)では奥の和室で幕末の郡山藩の資料が展示されていました。

  • Kusuri no Yakata Uda City History and Culture Museum
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    4.0
    9 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Udashi Oudakami 2003
    A museum housed inside the former residence of the Hosokawa family, which operated a medicinal wholesaler passed down for generations from 1806. The museum is located in Ouda, Uda City, Nara Prefecture. The building, standing along a former highway route, was built in the late Edo period; the sign for the former company’s medicine brand, Tenju-maru, still stands atop the building, and the structure still looks the same as when the area once flourished as a production location for medicines. Inside, the museum presents historical materials connected to the Hosokawa family and the local area. The building was also once the home of the mother’s side of the family of the founder of Fujisawa Pharmaceutical (which eventually merged with Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical to create Astellas Pharma), and the museum thus also exhibits materials related to Fujisawa Pharmaceutical.

    宇陀市の重要伝統的建造物群保存地区である宇陀松山にある建造物です。地区全体が江戸時代末期の建造物が並んでおり、風情があっていい感じです。

  • Isuien Garden & Neiraku Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Narashi Suimonchou 74
    This is the only “chisen-kaiyu-shiki teien” or pond strolling garden in Nara City, Isuien Garden consists of two gardens built during the Edo period and the Meiji period. Its appeal lies in the fact that you can comfortably appreciate the Nara-like landscape in a peaceful location with Tōdai-ji’s Great South Gate, Mt. Wakakusa, Mt. Kasugaokuyama and Mt. Mikasa. The Neiraku Museum which is located within the park holds and exhibits fine art such as antique Chinese bronzeware, and Chinese, Korean and Japanese ceramics and porcelain.

Nara Areas

around-area-map

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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