Although Nara remains an integral part of Japan, many visitors are surprised to learn that it used to be the capital. Visiting the remains of Heijo Palace in Nara offers you a chance to imagine what the area used to be like when it was once the beating heart of Japan.
Heijo Palace is accessible by walking 15 minutes from the Yamato-Saidaiji Station. Yamato-Saidaiji is just a 4-minute ride from the Kintetsu Nara Station.
Alternatively, a bus bound for the Yamato-Saidaiji Station from either the JR Nara Station or the Kintetsu Nara Station can also be used.
Excavations are still underway at the site. Many of the original attractions of the area are brought to life by reconstructions of the original buildings.
The most substantial reconstruction is the Daigokuden, also known as the Former Audience Hall. This building was rebuilt as part of the 1300th anniversary of Nara. The gateway and East Palace gardens are also reconstructions that are well-worth seeing.
Head for the Excavation Site Exhibition Hall to see the remains of the original buildings. Here, you can see the excavation in progress as various items are unearthed.
In addition to the excavation site, other original items are viewable at the Nara Palace Site Museum. The artifacts and objects on display here will help give you a sense of what it was like living in the former heart of Japan.