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.
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.
A method of pickling vegetables and fruit that has been practiced in Nara for over 1,300 years. The balance of salty ...
Takayama Tea Whisks
Takayama produces almost all of the tea whisks in Japan. These utensils vary in shape, bamboo type and design details...
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...
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.
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 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.
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.