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What to Do in Nara

Nara is a city of culture and history with plenty of things to see and do. Here are some of the highlights.

Index

  • Head to Nara Park

  • Explore the many museums

  • Visit the former imperial residence

  • Relax in beautiful Japanese gardens

  • Visit Naramachi

  • Head to Nara Park

    This vast park is home to several of Nara's most well known features, including temples, shrines and the 1000 or so deer that live here. The park is located a few minutes walk east from Kintetsu Nara station and in here you will find the UNESCO world heritage sites of Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji (botha are ancient Buddhist temples) as well as the Shinto shrine Kasuga Taisha. A large part of the park is made up by the Kasugayama primeval forest, also this a world heritage site. In fact, it’s only one out of three forests in Japan that carries this prestigious classification.

    Head to Nara Park

    Head to Nara Park

  • Explore the many museums

    As Nara is a city with such a long history, there are a plethora of museums to visit. Nara National Museum, where many of the finest Buddhist artifacts in the country are on display, is the star of the show. But there’s also the Mechanical Toy Museum in Nara, The Todai-ji Cultural Center, essentially a museum, dedicated to the biggest temple in Nara, as well as The Irie Taikichi Memorial Museum of Photography, the Nara Prefectural Art Museum, the Nara Craft Museum and the Heijyoko History museum.

    Nara National Museum

    Nara National Museum

  • Visit the former imperial residence

    During the Nara period, the Heijo Palace was where the imperial household used to live. It was also the administrative center of Japan during this time. Since then, almost all the original buildings, spare for a single hall that has been moved to another temple, has been destroyed. What stands on the site today are replicas of the main entrance gate and the former audience hall. The entire area is a part of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”, a UNESCO World
    Heritage Site.

    Visit the former imperial residence

    Visit the former imperial residence

  • Relax in beautiful Japanese gardens

    Nara also has two very fine examples of classical Japanese gardens – Yoshiki-en and Isui-en. They are located next to one another, at the border of Nara park, and both are worth a visit. Yoshiki-en is free to visit for foreign tourists. To enter Isui-en, you have to pay a 900 yen entrance fee that will also gain you access to the Neiraku Museum. Located next to the garden, this museum houses a collection of traditional pottery from Japan, China and Korea.

    Japanese gardens

    Japanese gardens

  • Visit Naramachi

    Naramachi is the old merchants' quarter in Nara. Many of the traditional residential buildings are preserved, and some of them have been turned into shops and restaurants. The area dates back to the Edo period. If you want to learn more about it, we recommend that you stop by Naramachi Shiryokan, a free museum where many historical items from the area are on display. Unfortunately, most of the information is in Japanese only. If you want to have a look at the inside of a preserved townhouse, head over to Naramachi Lattice House, which used to be the home of a wealthy merchant, but has now been turned into a museum. Naramachi is also where you will find another one of Naras many UNESCO world heritage sites – Gango-ji, one of the oldest temples in Japan.

    Naramachi Lattice House

    Naramachi Lattice House

    Nara Park
    Address
    Nara Pref. Narashi Zoushichou · Kasugano Town, Noborioji Town, Takahata-machi other
    Phone
    0742220375
    Nara National Museum
    Address
    Nara Pref. Narashi Noboriojichou 50
    Phone
    05055428600
    Heijo Palace Site First Daigokuden
    Address
    Nara Pref. Narashi Sakichou
    Phone
    Yoshikien Garden
    Address
    Nara Pref. Narashi Noboriojichou
    Phone
    0742225911
    Isuien Garden & Neiraku Museum
    rating 11 Reviews
    Address
    Nara Pref. Narashi Suimonchou 74
    Phone
    0742250781
  • rating 184 Reviews
    Address
    奈良県奈良市元興寺町44
    Phone
    0742234820
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