The political and religious heart of ancient Japan is easily accessed from Osaka and Kyoto and has shrines and temples that are among Japan's oldest. Many of these sites have cultivated flower gardens that enhance their surroundings. Nara Park is home to the famously tame deer wandering freely, and adjacent Todaiji Temple houses the world's largest bronze Buddha statue. Important pilgrimage routes run through the Mt. Yoshino area, a World Heritage site and stunning cherry blossom spot in the spring.
You can reach Nara easily from either Osaka or Kyoto, the key transit points for a visit to the prefecture. The nearest airports are Itami International Airport and Kansai International Airport, both located in Osaka Prefecture, approximately an hour and 15 minutes by bus and train.
The sights at Nara Park and Naramachi are accessible from both Nara Station and Kintetsu Nara Station. A bus will get you to the sites of Heijo Palace and Horyuji Temple. Kintetsu trains go to the ancient towns along the Yamanobe-no-Michi route and access points for the mountain pilgrimage trails toward the border with Wakayama Prefecture.
Formerly called Yamato, Nara is one of Japans main tea-producing areas. Tea first started being produced in the regio...
A method of pickling vegetables and fruit that has been practiced in Nara for over 1,300 years. The balance of salty ...
Takayama Tea Whisks
Takayama produces almost all of the tea whisks in Japan. These utensils vary in shape, bamboo type and design details...
Very thin noodles made from flour and the soft waters of Miwa. Somen boils in under two minutes, and is a favorite in...
Head to Mt. Yoshino for the most spectacular cherry blossoms and Mt. Katsuragi for azaleas. Climb grass-covered Mt. Wakakusa, which has an ancient tomb dating back to the fifth century.
Head for the cool, shaded trails of Mt. Kasuga or hike through the Mitarai Valley. Check out the many summer festivals—including the Tempyo Festival, and Obon at Kasuga Taisha Shrine—and try some chilled somen noodles.
Stroll through Isuien Garden or visit mountain shrines and temples such as Ohnoji and Hasedera—known for their autumn foliage. Many museums have exhibitions of Important Cultural properties during autumn.
Try snowshoe trekking through the quiet wilderness and then a soak in an onsen. Enjoy a few cups of sake and celebrate a traditional Japanese New Year at temples and shrines throughout Nara.