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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

KANSAI Nara Pilgrimage routes, ancient temples, cherry blossoms and deer in Japan's first permanent capital

Believed to be the birthplace of sake, Nara Prefecture is filled with sacred mountain ranges, spiritual sites and early Japanese artifacts

The political and religious heart of ancient Japan–and easily accessible from Osaka and Kyoto—Nara contains shrines and temples that are among Japan's oldest. Many of these sites have cultivated flowering gardens that enhance the already majestic views of their surroundings. Nara Park hosts famously tame deer wandering freely, and adjacent Todai-ji 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.

How to Get There

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 JR Nara Station and Kintetsu Nara Station. A bus will get you to the sites of Heijo-kyo Palace and Horyu-ji 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.

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Don't Miss

    Ancient temples, including some of the oldest structures in the world at Horyu-ji
    Sacred pilgrimage routes and pleasant walks along Japan’s oldest road—the Yamanobe-no-michi
    Feeding some of the 1,000 extraordinarily tame deer of Nara Park

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    Head to Mt. Yoshino for the most spectacular cherry blossoms and Mt. Katsuragi for azaleas. Climb the symbol of Nara, grass-covered Mt. Wakakusa, which has an ancient tomb dating back to the fifth century.

  • Summer

    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.

  • Autumn

    Stroll through Isuien Garden or 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.

  • Winter

    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.

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