Nara Travel Guide

  • Nara
    by mavl
  • Deer Eating Sakura
    Deer Eating Sakura
    by Rabbityama
  • Nara Park in Spring
    Nara Park in Spring
    by Rabbityama

Nara Things to Do

See all 157 Things to Do in Nara
  • Todaiji Temple

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Todaiji Temple means Great Eastern Temple. It was constructed in 752. It became the head temple of all the Buddhist temples of Japan and later grew so powerful that the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 in an attempt to reduce Todaiji's power and influence. Todaiji's main hall is the world's largest wooden building. It is home to one...

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  • Nara Park

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Many of Nara's sights such as: Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Kofukuji Temple and the Nara National Museum are located in Nara Park. This park dates from 1880. Nara Park is filled with hundreds of freely roaming deer. In the Shinto religion deer are believed to be messengers of the gods. Deer have come to be the symbol of Nara.

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  • Kasuga Shrine

    4 out of 5 stars

    Kasuga Taisha or Kasuga Shrine is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of Nara. Kasuga Shrine is famous for its lanterns. Hundreds of beautiful bronze lanterns can be found hanging from the shrine's buildings and hundreds of wonderful stone lanterns are located around the outside of the shrine. The lanterns are lit twice a year on...

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  • Kofukuji Temple

    4 out of 5 stars

    Kofukuji was once the family temple of the Fujiwara. The Fujiwara were a very powerful family clan during much of the Nara and Heian Periods. The temple was built in 710. Kofukji has a five story pagoda and a three story pagoda. The five story pagoda is 50m high making it Japan's second tallest pagoda. Kofukuji's pagoda was originally built in...

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  • Horyuji Temple

    Kondo, The Main-Hall of Horyuji Temple is one of the places where photography was totally forbidden inside, but at least we were allowed to take a look inside. Outside of the building you will see some interesting details like in my 4th photograph, where some grim animals obviously are in charge to guard the building against bad ghosts and similar...

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  • Nigatsu-do

    A pleasant escape from the crowds at Todai-ji is Nigatsu-do (one of todai-ji's sub temples). Entry is free and there are good views over the city towards the larger temple. On March the 13th there is a large ceremony here, where priests shower sparks on to the crowds below. Think twice about attending the ceremony - it gets PACKED, and forget...

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  • Yakushiji Temple

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Yakushiji Temple was built to worship Yakushi Nyorai, god of medicine back in the 7th century however, as a result of fires, the temple you see today was rebuilt in the 1970s with the exception of the east pagoda, which remains from the original dating back to 730. The temple is organized symmetrically, which is not common for Japanese temples,...

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  • Kasuga Shrine.

    Kasuga Taisha or Kasuga Shrine is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of Nara. Kasuga Shrine is famous for its lanterns. Hundreds of beautiful bronze lanterns can be found hanging from the shrine's buildings and hundreds of wonderful stone lanterns are located around the outside of the shrine. The lanterns are lit twice a year on...

    more
  • Kofukuji Temple.

    Kofukuji was once the family temple of the Fujiwara. The Fujiwara were a very powerful family clan during much of the Nara and Heian Periods. The temple was built in 710. Kofukji has a five story pagoda and a three story pagoda. The five story pagoda is 50m high making it Japan's second tallest pagoda. Kofukuji's pagoda was originally built in 730....

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Nara Hotels

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Nara Restaurants

See all 16 Restaurants in Nara
  • Warabe Yorokobi An - Yume Kaze Plaza,...

    Warabe Soba is a small restaurant in Nara's Yume Kaze Plaza, on the main road just around the corner from Todaiji Temple. This shop draws lots of tourists due to its great location, an its prices reflect that. The menu is in English and Japanese, and they offer a variety of soba (buckwheat noodle dishes) including cold soba, soba soups with tempura...

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  • Ashibi no Sato Restaurant - Naramachi,...

    Naramachi Ashibi no Sato Restaurant is a nice noodle shop in the historic Naramachi area of Nara. This restaurant, located in one of the old wood and stucco buildings from the 19th Century, is clean, simple and modern inside, with a food shop in the front, and just a handful of tables in the back. We took a seat near the back door at one of the...

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  • great cakes with a view

    The Tea Lounge in Nara Hotel is a great place to enjoy cakes in the way you might be used to it from your western homecountry and the windows of the Tea Lounge are facing the own japanes gardens of Nara Hotel. The Tea Lounge of Nara Hotelis open daily between 08.30am and 06.00pm They have a great choice of cakes and pastries, see also my last...

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Nara Transportation

  • Kintetsu Line between Nara and...

    Nara is served by both the JR trains and the Kintetsu company's trains. We chose the Kintetsu Line for our travels from Osaka to Nara and from Nara to Kyoto, primarily because the Kintetsu Station in Nara is much closer to the tourist sites than the JR Nara Station, saving us a good amount of walking. The Kintetsu Nara Station is small, but clean,...

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  • Getting to Enjoji and Yagyu Area

    The city limits of Nara extend well-beyond the Nara Park area. The famous Enjoji Temple and the Yagyu area are within Nara, but there are no train stations here, so you'll need to take a bus. There are 5 buses per day that go to Yagyu and all of them stop near Enjoji along the way. There are also 5 from Yagyu back to the stations. It is very easy...

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  • One day free pass

    Although a fixed sightseeing bus is also good, if you want to take a walk Nara or want to inspect the world heritages of Nara in your original pace,I recommend 1 day free pass.There are mainly three kinds.:Nara city section Free ticket-500yen:Nara city and Nishino-kyo Free ticket-810yen:Nara city, Nishino-kyo and Ikaruga Free ticket-1600yenI bought...

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Nara Shopping

See all 4 Shopping in Nara
  • Souvenirs and Restaurants

    The Higashimuki Shopping Street is located just beside Kintetsu Nara Station. It is full of shops and restaurants. Many of the shops are souvenir shops where you can buy Nara goods. Other shops include clothing stores, discount stores, and knickknack shops. There are also many restaurants here, including Chinese, Vietnamese, and McDonalds among the...

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  • Cash Machine

    it takes plain old credit cards, unlike most bank ATMs - super easy to get to if you know where to look (almost impossible to find otherwise) like-new used kimonos for LOW prices; calligraphy implements; funky, cool tabi-shoes & -boots at a little shop called Tabi-Ji ()

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  • Japanese Sweets

    Confectionery gift shops are found near and around the major sights of Kyoto and Nara. Walk around, compare prices. You see that most shops sell almost the same thing. Say what you will about the sickening sweetness of most Japanese confectionery, their variety and packaging is out of this world.Your attention is often drawn to these brightly...

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Nara Local Customs

  • Autumn leaves watching

    Nara Park is one of the most popular autumn leaves watching site. People promenade here with family memebers and friends in the first two weeks of November when the leaves are most colorful The location is around the Nara National Museum.

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  • Japanese gardens

    There is something very special about Japanese gardens that I like very much. The trees are cut in a special and quite interesting way and you will see a lot of trees that are totally unknown in Europe or other parts of the world. Around the temples and also next to the Nara Hotel you will find some really interesting japanese gardens and trees.

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  • Place your wishes in Kasuga Shrine

    In Kasuga Shrine,and of course also in other similar shrines, you can write your wishes on small wooden plates and hang them on the wall at a special place of the shrine. You can buy these wooden plates in the shrine against a small donation, some have a text already written on them, at some you can make your own text and of course you can buy also...

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Nara Warnings and Dangers

  • Being Saced Goes to Deer's Heads

    Though the great majority of Nara's 1200 sacred shika deer are very gentle, one must always remember that deer are wild animals and can act aggressively or unpredictably if it suits their interests -- and one never knows what a deer considers his/her interest to be. One thing for sure -- they have a god complex when they get hungry! Most of the...

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  • Divine messengers - the deer

    There are some wild deer in the Nara Park. They are pretty and sweet but so very hungry and they like to eat paper, cloth, your fingers etc. If you give them something, they'll never leave you alone. Try to keep all you papers out of sight, close your bag and simply try to ignore these and let someone else get in trouble with them.

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  • The deer in Nara park can be aggresive!

    Deers wander around freely in Nara Park around the Todaiji and Kasuga Taisha. Vendors sell shika senbei (deer biscuit) for Y150 for you to feed the deer. Once you start feeding a deer, others will come and flock around you. If you are wearing delicate clothing, be careful because a deer may just bite at your clothing to attract your attention!!

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Nara Tourist Traps

  • naruto's Profile Photo

    by naruto Written Sep 28, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Yes, the deer of Nara are alot of things. You can find them under MUST-SEE, under LOCAL CUSTOM, and also under TOURIST TRAP.

    They are aggressive, they are cute and they demand you fork out money to buy those deer biscuits from the many "senbei" vendors.

    Unique Suggestions: Take pictures of other tourists forking out the money to feed these cute critters.

    Take pictures of other tourists being pursued all over the park by these very demanding deer.

    If you don't look like you are going over to a senbei vendor, or smell of senbei, the deer will leave you alone.

    A terrified boy feeding a persistent deer
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

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Nara What to Pack

  • Picnic time!

    Dress appropriate to the seasons. It gets veeery cold in winter - woollen coat/duck-down jacket, hat, gloves, scarf. It gets veeery hot in summer - singlets/tee-shirts, shorts/skirts/cargos/jeans.It's medium (cardigan and light jersey/coat weather) in autumn (Sept, October, November) and spring (March/April/May). Nara Park is great for picnics....

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  • Packing Tips

    If you plan on doing a lot of train travel when you are in Japan then I suggest that you decline from bringing large, heavy suitcases. Most train stations in Japan have huge staircases (often no lift) so lugging a big suitcase is not an easy task. I suggest a good backpack would be a good choice. Rainy Season is around June/July and rain weather...

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  • Nara Hotels

    81 Hotels in Nara

Nara Off The Beaten Path

  • For the non-tourist tourist

    In the three years that I lived in the countryside of Nara prefecture, I discovered two very beautiful and little-known temples (by little-known, I mean by tourists- although Japanese people are very familiar with both of them). One is Hasedera Temple and the other is Murou-Ji Temple. Both of them are roughly an hour from Nara and can be accessed...

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  • Camping

    Nara Prefecture and nearby Wakayama Prefecture are great places for camping in. It is a little hard to find good camping spots in Japan as it is not a common pastime for the Japanese but if you would like to go camping then bring along your tent and sleeping bag and have a go!

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  • adventure in the nara koen area and...

    the nara koen (park) area is wonderful and around it there are lovely hills with hiking/biking rails. u can rent a mountain bike at nara JR station for a day or only for few hours and go and explore the beautiful nature :)) u will also get a good view of the city from up there :))

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Nara Favorites

See all 18 Favorites in Nara
  • A True Joy of Japan: Honorable Honesty

    Julia had a little incident in Nara that reminded me about one of Japan's most admirable qualities: the honor and honesty of its wonderful people. And all it took was the small act of a forthright deer snack vendor to bring credit to an entire nation....The excitable Julia was on her first-ever souvenir budget of Y1000 a day, a sum subject to...

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  • You Feed Them & They'll Be With You...

    If you buy the deer crackers to feed the deer around Kasuga Taisha Shrine Jin'en Park then be aware that they will be with you forever. The deer are extremely tame and once you feed one you'll have a herd within seconds.That being said, it makes for a fun photo opportunity! So many wonderful sights to see, feeding the deer can be a bit of light...

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  • PAGODAS

    These pagodas were so lovely to look at and as you can see I was quite snap happy! Here is another one.

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Explore Deeper into Nara
Todaiji Temple.
Things to Do
Nara Park
Things to Do
Yagyu Iris Garden
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Kōfuku-ji Temple
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Todaiji Temple
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Naramachi
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Todaiji Temple's Nigatsudo Hall
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Nandaimon Gate - Todaiji Temple
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Pet and Feed the Nara Deer
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Heijō Palace
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Kasuga taisha
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Jubei Cedar
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Yakushi Ji
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Horyu ji
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Shin Yakushi ji
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Daibutsu-den
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Nara Koen
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Kofuku Ji temple
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Kasugayama Primeval Forest
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Mount Wakakusayama
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One of Japan's Famous Deer Parks
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Toshodaiji Temple
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Omizutori
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Wakakusa Yamayaki
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Naoya Shiga Residence
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Shin-Yakushiji Temple
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Jinrikisha...Human Powered Wheels
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1000 Deers
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Biggest wodden building, Biggest bronz buddah
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Nara Park - deer country
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Issuien Garden
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Yoshikien Garden
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Enlightenment and healing
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Bus passes.
Transportation
World's largest wooden building
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TODAI-JI: In The Ancient Capital of Japan
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The Great Buddha Hall 2
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Kasuga Taisha Shrine.
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Visit the biggest Buddha!
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Getting to Nara
Transportation
Map of Nara

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