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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.
  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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。

  • Nara National Museum
    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.
  • Isuien Garden & Neiraku Museum
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    3.5
    11 Reviews
    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.

    A very small museum next to Isuien Gardens. Both were built by the same person (Nakamura Junsaku) & Neiraku Museum contains his personal collection of works (seals, mirrors, pottery, etc) from Japan...

  • Yoshikien Garden
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Narashi Noboriojichou
    This is a Japanese-style garden and a Place of Scenic Beauty within Nara which sits adjacent to Isuien Park. It is said that it was built on the site of a branch temple of Kofukuji Temple, Manishuin Temple. You can enjoy the three aspects of the garden; the pond garden, the moss garden and the tea ceremony garden with Mt. Kasuga and Mt. Wakakusa as a backdrop. The former Shohoin family residence and the separate tearooms within the garden have been designated as Tangible Cultural Properties of Nara Prefecture. In Autumn, the fall colored leaves which flutter down into the moss garden create a beautiful scene. Advance reservation is necessary to use the tearooms.
  • Great South Gate
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Zoushichou 406-1 in the Todaiji Temple
    This is the main gate of Tōdai-ji in Nara City and has been designated as a National Treasure. The original gate was destroyed by a typhoon in 962, and the present gate was rebuilt in the Kamakura period. It is Japan’s largest temple gate reaching a height of 25.46 meters. There are 18 giant pillars up to the roof, and in the lower section of the gate, the back of the roof structure has no ceiling—so it is famous as the architectural structure which houses the Great Buddha.
  • Great Buddha Hall
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    4.5
    42 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Zoushichou 406-1 in the Todaiji Temple
    The “Tōdai-ji” Buddhist temple located in Nara City is a National Treasure of Japan. It is the largest architectural structure on the grounds, and was built to enshrine the seated statue of Rushanabutsu which is the principal image of worship and is known as “the Great Buddha of Nara”. The Rushanabutsu statue is a copper structure which stands at an approximate height of 14.7 meters, and one section which was built during the Tempyo period has survived. From New Year’s Eve until New Year’s Day, an observation window on the front of the Kara Hafu (literally, Tang gable) is opened and you can see the Great Buddha’s face from outside.

    This is the main hall of the Todaiji Temple which houses its huge Buddha. The highlight of my trip to Nara, definitely worth paying the entrance fee.

  • Nigatsu-do
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    4.0
    35 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Zoushichou 406-1 in the Todaiji Temple
    This is a Buddhist temple within the Tōdai-ji grounds in Nara City, and has been designated as a Japanese National Treasure. The famous event of “Omizutori (lit. Taking water) (Shuni-e lit. Second-Month Service)” is traditionally held here in early Spring. At present, the event is held in March of the lunar calendar but formerly it was held in February, due to Japan’s old lunisolar calendar—therefore it is the origin of the name, Nigatsu-do (lit. second month hall). The temple has two eleven faced Kannon Goddess of Mercy statues enshrined as principal objects of worship although no one can see them as they are unconditionally Buddhist images withheld from public view.

    For us This unique place turned to be a great discovery during a day-trip to Nara. After visiting Nigatsu-do we’ve seen it by chance and decided to visit it. We payed the entrance fee of 500 yen...

  • Tamukeyama Hachimangu Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Zoushichou 434
    This is a shrine in Nara City. It is located in Tamukeyama which is famous as a beauty spot for its autumnal leaves, and it is built to the north of Tōdai-ji’s Hokke-do Hall (also called “Sangastu-do Hall”). Its origins lie in the summoning and enshrinement secured from Kyoto’s Usa Hachimangu Shrine which were the deities summoned to protect Tōdai-ji on the occasion of Tōdai-ji and the Great Buddha being built. The ancient log house structure of the treasure house was relocated from the master’s warehouse from Tōdai-ji’s oil storehouse in the Nara period, and it is designated as an Important Cultural Property. Also housed on the grounds of the temple are such a National Treasure as a “Chinese-style ritual saddle” and an Important Cultural Property like a “21 wooden bugaku theatre mask”.
  • Wakamiya-jinja Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Kasuganochou 160 in the Kasuga Grand Shrine
    Wakamiya-jinja Shrine is an auxiliary and subsidiary shrines of Kasuga Shrine, and it is the temple at the back of the “side road” lined with stone lanterns. It is called “Wakamiya” because it enshrines Kogami (“offspring kami”) of Hime no Kami, Ame-no-Oshikumone-no-mikoto who is the enshrined deity of Kasuga Shrine. It is the first temple in the Wakamiya tour of 15 shrines. The main hall has been designated as an Important Cultural Property, and has a similar Kasuga-zukuri style as the main shrine of Kasuga Taisha Shrine. It is known for holding the “Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri” in December every year.
  • First Torii Gate
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Kasuganochou 160 in the Kasuga Grand Shrine
    This is a vermillion-lacquered large torii (Shinto shrine archway) which stands at the entrance to the approach road to Kasuga Shrine in Nara City. It stands at a height of 6.75 meters. As a type of Kasuga-style archway (it has distinct features such as a slight curvature of the under beams and top beams and thick column diameters), it has been designated as a Japanese Important Cultural Property. Even though the archway was first built in late Heian period, the present archway was reconstructed in 1638 and a large scale restoration was done at the 60th anniversary of this reconstruction.
  • Nanendo Temple
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    4.0
    28 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Narashi Noboriojichou 48
    This octagonal temple located inside the Kohfukuji Temple is designated an Important Cultural Property. As the ninth station in the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, the temple is visited by an unending stream of worshippers. The temple was built in 813 by the noble Fujiwara no Fuyutsugu in prayer for the happiness in the next world of his father, Fujiwara no Uchimaro. The current temple was rebuilt in 1789, the fourth time the temple was rebuilt, in an old-fashioned style believed to be modeled after the Hokuendo Temple, also located inside the Kohfukuji. The two principle objects of worship enshrined inside the temple, the Seated Figure of Amoghapasa and the Standing Figures of the Four Heavenly Kings, were created by famed sculptor Kokei. The temple doors behind which these statues are hidden are only opened on October 17 each year during the Reading of the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra.

    This is worth a quick look as you go past as it has an unusual shape. However, there’s nothing else memorable about it so not worth a diversion.

  • Naramachi Koshi no Ie Residence
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    4.5
    184 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.

    Wonderful old temple at Gangoji on the Yamanobe no Michi trail. They serve somen noodles here. And there are two poetry monuments, both of which are profiled in "Precious Stones," a delightful book...

  • Yume-Kaze Plaza
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    4.0
    26 Reviews
    Gourmet / Alcohol
    Nara Pref. Narashi Kasuganochou 16
    12 souvenir shops and restaurants operate inside this complex located in the center of Nara Park. In addition to more conventional souvenirs, visitors can also find Daibutsu Pudding, which exploded in popularity after it was featured on television, as well as traditional “Yamato” vegetables and fruits stocked from nearby farmers. Yume-Kaze Plaza is also home to several restaurants, including a casual Italian restaurant perfect for lunch as well as a venerable establishment favored for its kudzu sweets and meals made with local Nara ingredients. The natural scenery, including a commanding view of Mt. Wakakusa, Mt. Mikasa, and Mt. Tamuke, is spectacular, and the facility is visited by many tourists and students on school outings.

    This is the square close to Todaiji temple where there are a number of pretty good quality restaurants for a proper meal. I had lunch at one of the restaurants here before heading to Todaiji.

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.

Nara Photo Album

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