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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

Magnificent temples and shrines and wild-roaming deer in a huge park setting in the center of Nara

Nara Park is a massive area at the foot of Mount Wakakasu full of very playful and friendly deer. The natural setting includes temples set in unspoiled woods and a lake full of turtles and carp. The temples and shrines of Nara are much older than the oft-rebuilt buildings in Kyoto, and much more unique.

Don't Miss

  • Interacting with the tame deer
  • The Great Buddha
  • Exploring Japan's Buddhist history through art and monuments

How to Get There

Access to central Nara is easiest from Osaka. JR Nara Station is actually further away from the city center than the Kintetsu private railway which is the train line that best serves central Nara.

The fastest way to get to Nara is the 35-minute limited rapid express from Kintetsu Namba to Kintetsu Nara Station. This will cost 510 yen more than the regular express trains that take 5 minutes longer.

Kintetsu Nara can also be reached from Kintetsu Kyoto station in just over 30 minutes.

From Kintetsu Nara, the park is a 15-minute walk. The park can also be accessed from JR Nara station with a 25-minute walk.

Great size and scale

The area around Nara Park is known for its incredible cultural heritage. The most famous and the first place most visitors go is the Great Buddha Hall at Todaiji.

Todaiji, with the Great Buddha inside

This Buddha is the largest in the world standing at 15 meters tall and weighing an estimated 300 tons. Inside the largest wooden building in the world, the scale of this statue is awe-inspiring. Do not miss the less-visited temple buildings up the hill to the left of the Great Buddha.

Similarly impressive is the 50-meter tall pagoda at the neighboring Kofukuji. This magnificent construction makes it the second tallest 5-story pagoda in Japan. The museum here is a must for lovers of Buddha statues.

A quick walk away from the Great Buddha is Shinyakushiji, which is known for its statue of the Medicine Buddha. While a lot smaller in size than the Great Buddha, this Buddha is still very impressive, as it was laboriously carved from a single piece of wood, and the many statues that surround it are a very impressive and original sight.

Man Toro Festival at Kasuga Taisha

A perfect balance

Nearby Kasuga Taisha balances perfectly the natural and cultural elements of the area. Walk to the shrine along a path through the woods, illuminated with innumerable stone lanterns during the Man Toro festival. At the shrine itself, the deep vermillion colored paint of the buildings perfectly complements the surrounding trees.

For museum fans, do not miss the Nara National Museum, with its unrivaled collection of Nara Period art.

Nara Park is known for its tame deer. While some caution is advised, it is possible to walk up to the deer and take a photograph with them or feed them with deer crackers on sale along the side of the road.

Fans of animals will also love Sarusawa pond. This is a great place to relax on the benches and watch turtles and carp swimming around.

Many people take a classic photograph of Nara here, using the pond as a mirror to reflect the pagoda of Kofukuji and the beautiful trees.

A playground for avid photographers

The great park and the photogenic structures make central Nara a popular location for photographers.

Another popular photograph is a shot of the park from the Wakakusa-yama mountain. The climb up the mountain offers a unique view of some of Nara's most famous sights. In the evening, in addition to being full of deer and birds, the mountain offers visitors a magnificent panoramic perspective of the Nara area.

Set aside a few hours to view the park, feed the deer, and observe its cultural highlights at leisure.

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