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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Free-roaming deer, ancient temples and much to explore at this all-encompassing UNESCO World Heritage Site

Beautiful Buddhist temples, spectacular Shinto shrines and the excavated site of the great Imperial Palace make Nara City the ultimate historical spot.

Don't Miss

  • Ikaruga, the oldest wooden building in the world
  • "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara" including Todaiji, Kofukuji and Shinyakushiji temples
  • Spectacular views of Mt. Ikoma and Mt. Shigi

How to Get There

Nara City is located east of Osaka City and south of Kyoto City and easily accessed by JR train from both.

From Osaka, the JR Yamatoji Rapid Service goes directly to Nara Station. From Kyoto, the JR Miyakoji Rapid Service goes directly to Nara Station. Other JR local lines also connect the two cities. From other locations in Kyoto or Osaka, the Kintetsu private railway may be the most convenient alternative.

The oldest wooden structure in the world

The Ikaruga area near Nara City is home to Horyuji Temple, the oldest wooden building in the world. Also worth a visit is the nearby Hokkiji Temple , with its magnificent three-story pagoda. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, packed with historical intrigue.

Horyuji Temple and its magnificent pagoda

Japan's first permanent capital

Close to central Nara is the site of what was once the most important building in Japan, Heijo Palace . Although little remains of the original structures, the buildings at the Heijo Palace site have been recreated using authentic period-appropriate materials.

The only surviving part of the original palace is found at the nearby 8th century Toshodaiji . The simple, ancient buildings are architectural gems. Fans of historical architecture should also visit Yakushiji , which has an ancient pagoda dating back to A.D. 730.

Top temples

Near to this is the Saidaiji area. The two big temples in this area are Akishino Temple , known for its peaceful moss garden, and Saidaiji , which is considered one of Nara's seven great temples.

Goldfish and more

Visitors who are willing to travel a little further outside of the city will enjoy the Yamatokoriyama area. This area is only a short distance from sights such as Yakushiji and can be combined with them in a day trip.

The area is known for the spectacular Koriyama Castle . This castle is famous for its peaceful garden and its protective wall, which features stones from a variety of sources including religious icons. The resulting defensive structure serves as a powerful reminder of Japan's military past.

Yamatokoriyama is the center of the Japanese goldfish industry, and there is even a Goldfish Museum.

Mt. Ikoma and Mt. Shigi

People looking to experience the more natural side of Nara should head to Kuragari-toge which combines a satisfying hike with deep history. This can be combined with a cultural experience at the nearby Hozanji Temple, which is home to an unusual Hindu-inspired elephant entity.

Even further afield is the Mt. Shigi area. This area also combines cultural attractions, Chogosonshiji Temple , and its tiger-inspired architecture, with natural attractions such as Kongosenji , famous for its hydrangeas.

Whether you want to take your time with each location or see as much as possible in a day, Nara City is a great base for your adventures.

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