Experience ancient Japan in its former capital, the historical and culture-rich city of Nara. In a hilly region of southern Honsho, just day trip travel distance from Osaka and Kyoto, Nara is a truly fascinating place. It’s absolutely the city to visit if you want to see authentic treasures from ancient Japan, such as the incredible towering Daibutsu Great Buddha statue dating back to the 8th century.
If you don’t have much time to spend in Nara, you must make a beeline for the Seven Great Temples of Nara. Highlights include the Tōdai Temple (home of the 50ft high Daibutsu) and the Grand Shrine of Kasuga, one of the oldest Shintō shrines in Japan. These Buddhist temples and many buildings of historical interest are dotted throughout the city, with some rare (and quieter) hidden gems on the outskirts.
Another must-see is the Nara National Museum, home of the region’s most precious treasures of Buddhist art and culture. Here you’ll see paintings, jewels, sculptures, musical instruments and other artifacts which shed light on life in Japan hundreds of years ago.
As you’re temple-hopping through this pleasantly compact city, and strolling through the atmospheric merchant district of Naramachi, you’re also likely to make a new furry friend. This is because all of the key attractions in Nara cluster around the grassy Nara-kōen park, which is home to a large population of quite tame deer. It makes for an unforgettable sight to see these beautiful animals strolling amidst the temples.
Plan your trip to Nara today.