Nara Overview Nara Overview

Nara Overview


2017.06.07

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Nara Overview

Nara is a historically significant city located within less than an hour by train from both Kyoto and Osaka. It is famous for its many temples and shrines, as well as the large number of deer in and around Nara Park.

  • With a population of just 360,000 but more than 1,000 semi-domesticated deer, it’s no wonder that the animal has turned into something of a symbol for Nara. However, this city is so much more than its deer – the city also has an interesting history as well as several world-class sightseeing spots, including several World Heritage sites, making Nara well worth a visit even if you don’t care much for its four-legged ambassadors.

    Nara is a city with a long history. It was the capital for most of the 8th century, during what is since then referred to as the Nara Period in Japanese history (AD 710-794). This was the time when Buddhism became permanently established in the country, and as a result, there are several impressive Buddhist temples in Nara. One of the most well known is Todai-ji with its 14.7 metre Giant Buddha Statue. This impressive temple is the biggest wooden structure in Japan, and one of Naras eight Unesco World Heritage Sites.

    Tōdai-ji
    rating

    3.5

    14 Reviews
    place
    Nara Pref. Narashi Zoushichou 406-1
    phone
    0742225511
    opening-hour
    [Apr.--Octo.]7:30-17:30[Toda…

    Todai-ji, with several other of Nara's historical buildings, is located in Nara Park, a vast oasis of greenery a short walk from the train station. Not far from the park you’ll find the old town of Nara – Naramachi. This area has been home to merchants and creators since the 15th century. Today, several local artisans still run studios and boutiques in these blocks of old wooden and narrow streets. In recent years, several trendy cafés, restaurants and shops mainly targeting the growing number of tourists have also opened here.

    Nara Park
    place
    Nara Pref. Narashi Zoushichou · Kasugano Town, Noborioji Town, Takahata-machi other
    phone
    0742220375
    opening-hour
    Admission freedom

    In Nara, you will also find some of the most attractive Japanese gardens in Japan. Specifically Isui-en and Yoshiki-en are often mentioned as some of the top sightseeing spots of Nara. Isui-en is the bigger of the two, with the oldest part dating back to the 17th century.

    Isuien Garden & Neiraku Museum
    place
    Nara Pref. Narashi Suimonchou 74
    phone
    0742250781
    opening-hour
    9:30-16:30 (Admission until …
    Yoshikien Garden
    rating

    3.0

    1 Reviews
    place
    Nara Pref. Narashi Noboriojichou
    phone
    0742225911
    opening-hour
    9:00-17:00 (Admission until …

    Nara also houses the Nara National Museum, where many impressive Buddhist statues, paintings, and several historical scrolls reside. The museum was founded in 1894 and is located in Nara Park.

    Nara National Museum
    rating

    3.5

    2 Reviews
    place
    Nara Pref. Narashi Noboriojichou 50
    phone
    05055428600
    opening-hour
    9:30-17:00 (Last admission 3…

    Other notable sightseeing spots in Nara includes Horyuji temple – One of the world’s oldest wooden temples, as well as Kasuga Taisha, the biggest and most beautiful Shinto shrine in the city. Wakakusayama, a grass covered hill in the back of Nara park, is also a popular spot due to the impressive view of Nara from its peak, 342 metres high.

    Kasuga Taisha Shrine
    rating

    4.5

    1751 Reviews
    place
    Nara Pref. Narashi Kasuganochou 160
    phone
    0742227788
    opening-hour
    [Mar.--Octo.] 6:30-17:30[Nov…

    Nara is worth a visit all year round, but it’s especially beautiful during the cherry blossom season in April. The city centre is fairly small and most of Nara can be reached on foot without too much trouble. Nara makes for a good daytrip destination from both Kyoto and Osaka, but if you want to explore everything that this historical city has to offer, it might be a good idea to spend a night or two here.

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