Nara is a small city that can easily be experienced in a day trip from either Kyoto or Nara.
If you have plenty of time however, it might be a good idea to divide this itinerary into two days and spend the night at one of the many cozy guesthouses available throughout town.
You’ll most likely arrive in Nara from either of the two major railway stations, Kintetsu Nara Station or JR Nara station. Both are located in the central part of town, but Kintetsu is somewhat more convenient.
2) Head through the cozy shopping street called Higashimuki, where you can grab some souvenirs and snacks. The street is about 250 meters long and has a charming retro atmosphere. In here you’ll find everything from arts and crafts to craft beer and kimonos. If you’ve arrived at Kintetsu station, you shouldn’t have any problems finding your way here, as the station is directly connected to the northern end of this shopping street.
3) Turn left as you leave Higashimuki shopping street and continue uphill for a few minutes and soon you’ll have Kofukuji Temple on your left side and Saruzawa Pond on your right. Near the pond you’ll find a small building ontaining a convenience store and a tourism information center. This is also the last place that has an ATM before you enter Nara Park, so make sure to get enough cash to last you through the rest of the day.
4) Nara is a town with a vivid and interesting history. A good place to educate yourself in some of the amazing art that has been produced here throughout the years is at the Nara National Museum. In here, you will primarily find art related to the Buddhist heritage, including some magnificent treasures from the nearby Todai-ji Temple.
5) Spend a few hours exploring the rest of everything that Nara Park has to offer. This vast oasis of greenery houses some of Japan's most beautiful temples and shrines, as well as a primeval forest that is a part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, a UNESCO world heritage site.
6) Wrap up the day by exploring the old merchants district of Naramachi. This part of Nara is full of traditional Machiya, or townhouses, that has been converted into museums, designer’s shops and a handful of restaurants and cafés.
- Nara Nara-shi Chuincho , Gangojicho , Nishinoshinyacho