Nara should be a prime destination for anyone interested in Japanese history. The political and religious heart of ancient Japan, Nara’s shrines and temples are among Japan's oldest. Many of these sites have cultivated flowering gardens that enhance the already majestic views of the surrounding area. Important pilgrimage routes run through the Mt. Yoshino area, a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular cherry blossom spot.
You can reach Nara easily from either Osaka or Kyoto, the key transit points for a visit to this venerable city. The nearest airports are Itami International Airport and Kansai International Airport, both in Osaka and located approximately an hour and 15 minutes by bus and train, respectively.
The sights at Nara Park and Naramachi are accessible from both JR Nara Station and Kintetsu Line Nara Station. A bus will get you to the sites of Heijo-kyo Palace and Horyu-ji Temple, and the Kintetsu line 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.
A method of pickling vegetables and fruit that has been practiced in Nara for over 1300 years. The balance of salty a...
Formerly Yamato, Nara is one of Japans main tea-producing areas. Tea first started being produced in the region 1200 ...
Very thin noodles made from flour and the soft waters of Miwa. Somen boils in under two minutes, and is a favorite in...
Sasanoha sushi is made with vegetables and cooked or cured fish placed in a wooden mold and covered with sushi rice. ...
Head to Mt. Yoshino for the most spectacular cherry blossoms and Mt. Katsuragi for azaleas, and climb the symbol of Nara, grass-covered Mt. Wakakusa, which has an ancient tomb dating back to the fifth century.
Head for the cool, shaded trails of Mt. Kasuga, 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. Visit mountain shrines and temples such as Ohnoji and Hasedera renowned for their autumn foliage. Many museums offer exhibitions of important cultural properties during autumn.
Try snowshoe trekking through the quiet wilderness, slip into an onsen for a soak and a few cups of sake, and celebrate a traditional Japanese New Year at temples and shrines throughout Nara.