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Nara

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At Asia Senses Travel we’re adventurers at heart. Our journeys are all about discovering new places and cultures while creating unforgettable memories through physical activity and breathtaking scenery.

Visit nara

Japan's first permanent capital, Nara is one of the country's most rewarding destinations, renowned for the wealth of its Buddhist and Shinto heritage. Like Kyoto, this ancient city was built on a grid, mirroring the Tang Chinese city of Chang'an; the resulting layout is logical, well-ordered, and dotted with pleasant parks and gardens. History and culture buffs should note that Nara has managed to preserve its heritage well; among its many historical buildings are 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as several of the oldest wooden buildings in Japan - and the world.

Against a backdrop of low-lying wooded mountains, Nara is rather scenic, pleasantly relaxed and surprisingly compact with the main places of interest located within a relatively easy distance of one another.
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The biggest draw in Nara is the awe-inspiring Daibutsu (Great Buddha), a towering effigy first cast in the 8th century.
Asami Sato
Japan Travel Specialist

Things to See and Do in Nara

nara-Todaiji-Temple

Todaiji Temple

Nara's centrepiece is the Todaiji Temple (Great Eastern Temple), one of Japan's most historically significant temples. Constructed in 752, the temple served as the head of all provincial Buddhist temples in Japan and gained immense power.

The main hall of the temple houses the famed Daibutsu, a spectacularly large bronze statue of Buddha flanked by two Bodhisattvas. Todaiji's main hall also claims the title of being the world's largest wooden building.
nara-Kasuga-Grand-Shrine

Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Kasuga Taisha Shrine is considered one of the most sacred sites in all of Japan. Located at the foot of Nara’s Mount Mifuta, a sacred place where deities were believed to descend to earth. The shrine was officially established in 768 by the Fujiwara clan, but is believed to date from the very beginning of the Nara period.

Like the Ise Shrines, the Kasuga Taisha had been periodically rebuilt every 20 years for many centuries. In the case of the Kasuga Taisha, however, the custom was discontinued at the end of the Edo Period. The shrine attracts both devotees and tourists seeking an iconic Shinto experience.
Nara-Park

Nara Park

Nara Park is a large park in central Nara. Established in 1880, it is the location of many of Nara's main attractions including Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha, Kofukuji and the Nara National Museum. Nara Park is a five minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station or about a 20 minute walk from JR Nara Station.

Stroll through Nara Park, where you will see hundreds of freely roaming deer. Considered messengers of the gods in Shinto, Nara’s deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated a national treasure. Vendors in the park sell small packets of rice crackers that you can use to feed the deer.
nara-Horyuji-Temple-Complex

Horyu-ji Temple Complex

See the Horyu-ji Temple Complex, home to the two oldest wooden buildings in the world, Horyu-ji’s East Temple and the West Temple. These examples of ancient Japanese architecture were built in the 607 AD by Buddhist carpenters from the Korean Kingdom of Paekche. The original structure burned down in 670, but the structure you will see today is the reconstructed temple finished in the 8th century.
nara-byodoin-temple-uji-night

Byodo-in Temple

On the way to Nara from Kyoto, stop at Byodo-in Temple in Uji City, one of the 17 UNESCO sites in and around Kyoto. The longevity and cultural importance of Byodo-in, which was established by a member of the powerful Fujiwara clan in 1052, is commemorated on both Japan’s 10-yen coin and 10,000-yen bill.

Best Time to Visit Nara

The best time to visit Nara is during March to May (Spring) and from October to November (Fall). During this time, Nara has a temperate climate, so you can visit at any time of year.

Summers (June to August) in Nara tend to be hot and humid while winters (December to February) in Nara can be cold. There is a rainy season that goes from mid-June to late July, but it doesn’t rain every day and you can travel in this season.
Max Temperature(ºC)
Jan
8
Feb
9
Mar
12
Apr
19
May
23
Jun
26
Jul
30
Aug
32
Sep
28
Oct
22
Nov
16
Dec
11
Rainfall (mm)
Jan
64
Feb
65
Mar
106
Apr
144
May
146
Jun
218
Jul
189
Aug
140
Sep
186
Oct
136
Nov
85
Dec
58
Month
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

JAN
8ºC
64mm

FEB
9ºC
65mm

MAR
12ºC
106mm

APR
19ºC
144mm

MAY
23ºC
146mm

JUN
26ºC
218mm

JUL
30ºC
189mm

AUG
32ºC
140mm

SEP
28ºC
186mm

OCT
22ºC
136mm

NOV
16ºC
85mm

DEC
11ºC
58mm

Festivals, Events and Seasonal Reasons to Visit

  • 01

    Wakakusa Yamayaki Festival (January) takes place on the hillside of Nara’s Mt Wakakusayama on the 4th Saturday in January. A fireworks display is followed by the burning of the mountain, lit by ‘sacred’ fire from three local temples.

Suggested Itineraries

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel to Nara, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists. Alternatively, if you would like to include a visit to Nara on a bespoke touring itinerary to Japan, do not hesitate to contact us.
Japan World Heritages Sites

Tokyo - Nikko - Takayama - Shirakawago - Kanazawa - Kyoto - Nara - Wakayama & Mount Koya - Miyajima Island - Hiroshima - Osaka
Japan: Land Of The Rising Sun

Tokyo - Kamakura - Hakone & Mount Fuji - Matsumoto - Nara - Kyoto

Ideas for Experiencing Nara

Nara Hills Trekking
Take a scenic, spiritual trek near Nara. Follow the path of Japan's oldest road, stunningly winding through forests and rice paddies. Visit ancient Shinto shrines and peaceful Buddhist temples along the way, experiencing the harmonious blend of cultural heritage and natural wonders that make Japan specially attractive.