Area Guide

Recommended Places to Visit

Nara: An old and historic town dotted with valuable cultural assets which have been inscribed on the World Heritage list.

In Nara, the ancient capital, which once flourished as the center of Japan, many temples, shrines and historical sites remain to convey the past glory of those days to the present age. Nara is suitable for strolling through the following areas within walking distance from the nearest stations: Nara Park, in which Todai-ji Temple and Kofuku-ji Temple are located and where visitors can find wild deer; “Nara-machi”, which is popular for its atmosphere from the olden days; and “Nishinokyo”, in which Toshodai-ji Temple and Yakushi-ji Temple are located.
Deer?something you must see in Nara.
  ....wanna eat rice crackers?”
Nara Park Area Nishinokyo Area Heijo Palace Site Area
Click an area name to view the information on the area’s attractions.

Heijo Palace Site

Heijo Palace Site
Heijo Palace Site (World Heritage)
In 710, the capital of Japan was relocated from Fujiwara-kyo to Heijo-kyo by Empress Gemmei. Heijo-kyo, which was built after the model of Chang’an in the T’ang Dynasty, was a metropolis constructed like the grid of a go board with the approximately 75 m-wide and 4 km-long Suzaku Boulevard running at the center. In 1998, the Suzaku Gate and the Eastern Palace Garden were restored and the restoration of the Main Hall, the Former Imperial Audience Hall (Daigoku-den) was completed, as part of plans for the 1300th Anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo Capital in 2010.
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Access:Approx. a 20-minute walk from Kintetsu Yamato Saidaiji Sta.

Nara Park Area

Todai-ji Temple
Todai-ji Temple (World Heritage)
This temple is well-known for its immense statue of Buddha, nicknamed “Nara no Daibutsu-san.” It was founded in the Nara Era, and is called “Todai-ji (literally east large temple)” because it was a large temple located east of Heijo-kyo. The temple is a treasure trove of Nara’s representative cultural assets such as Nandaimon Gate, in which stand Kongo Rikishi statues produced by Unkei and Kaikei; the Great Buddha Hall, the world’s largest wooden historic building that houses the huge statue of Buddha; and Nigatsu-do Hall in which Omizutori or Water Drawing Ceremonies are held.
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Access:Kintetsu Nara Sta. → Approx. a 10-minute walk from Nara Kotsu Bus “Daibutsuden Kasugataisha-mae”
http://www.todaiji.or.jp/ (in Japanese)
Kasuga Taisha Shrine
Kasuga Taisha Shrine (World Heritage)
Kasuga Taisha Shrine, which was built to protect Heijo-kyo in the Nara Era, regards deer as messengers of the gods, based on folklore that its enshrined deity appeared on a white deer. The vermilion-lacquered Main Hall is repainted every two decades.
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Access:Kintetsu Nara Sta. → A few minutes walk from Nara Kotsu Bus “Kasugataisha Honden”
http://www.kasugataisha.or.jp/ (in Japanese)
Kofuku-ji Temple
Kofuku-ji Temple (World Heritage)
The forerunner of Kofuku-ji Temple was Yamashina-dera Temple, which was built by Kagamino-okami, the wife of Fujiwarano Kamatari, wishing for her husband’s recovery from an illness. The temple was relocated by Fujiwarano Fuhito to its current site in 710. In this temple, visitors can appreciate various national treasures such as the five-storied pagoda and Ashura-zo statue.
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Access:Approx. a 5-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Sta.
http://www.kohfukuji.com/english.html
Nara Park
Nara Park
This is an extensive park of about 5 km2, dotted with various landmarks such as Todai-ji Temple, Kofuku-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, and Nara National Museum as well as beautiful gardens including Kasuga Taisha Shrine Manyo Botanical Garden. Nara’s great attractiveness can be represented by its natural landscapes with historical backgrounds, such as Tobihino, where visitors can interact with deer, a symbol of Nara, and Wakakusayama Hill which is well-known for its controlled burn-off.
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Access:Approx. a 5-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Sta.
http://nara-park.com/ (in Japanese)
Nara National Museum
Nara National Museum
The main brick building, which is a fine specimen of Renaissance-style architecture constructed in the Meiji Era, and the new east and west buildings, modeled after log-construction style store-houses, house fine articles and top-drawer articles of Buddhist art. Treasures of the Shoso-in collection will be displayed in the Exhibition of Shoso-in which is held in autumn.
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Phone:050-5542-8600(Hello Dial)
Access:Approx. a 15-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Sta.
http://www.narahaku.go.jp/english/index_e.html
Gango-ji Temple
Gango-ji Temple (World Heritage)
Asuka-dera Temple, Japan’s oldest temple, founded by Soga no Umako, became Gango-ji Temple when it was moved on the occasion of the relocation of the capital. In the tiled roofing of the main hall, which is a national treasure, Japan’s oldest roof tiles from the Asuka area were used.
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Access:Approx. a 20-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Sta.
http://www.gangoji.or.jp/
Wakakusa Hill
Wakakusayama Hill
The burn-off of Wakakusayama Hill, which is 342 m above sea level, is a nationally well-known event conducted in January. When the hill is opened to the public in spring and autumn, visitors can hike along the promenade to the top of the hill, and find a superb panoramic view of mountains and the Nara basin. (Since the period when the hill is open differs each year, please check by calling the following phone number in advance.)
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Phone:0742-27-1515(Nara Prefectural Office, Section of Creating Nara’s Attractiveness)
Access:Kintetsu Nara Sta. → Approx. a 10-minute walk from Nara Kotsu Bus “Daibutsuden Kasugataisha-mae”
http://www.pref.nara.jp/6553.htm (in Japanese)
Nara-machi
Nara-machi
Nara-machi, which was prosperous as the precincts of Gango-ji Temple, is a nostalgic area with fine old machiya, traditional wooden townhouses. This area is dotted with stylish cafes and various museums that convey the lives of ordinary citizens.
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Access:Approx. a 10 to 20-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Sta.

Nishinokyo

Yakushi-ji Temple
Yakushi-ji Temple (World Heritage)
Yakushi-ji Temple is one of the seven most important temples in Nara, and shows a beautiful contrast between the serene atmosphere of the East Pagoda, the only original structure left from its foundation, and the gorgeousness of the two restored structures: the Main Hall and “Sai-to” the West Pagoda. With the Tang Dynasty-style and Chinese western region-style designs seen in the platform for the image of Buddha in the Main Hall, Yakushi-ji Temple is regarded as the terminal point of the Silk Road. The temple is also well-known for its “Daito Seiiki Hekiga,” a large set of murals tracing a Chinese famous monk Genjo Sanzo Hoshi’s pilgrimage painted by Ikuo Hirayama.
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Access:A few minutes walk from Kintetsu Nishinokyo Sta.
http://www.nara-yakushiji.com/ (in Japanese)
Toshodai-ji Temple
Toshodai-ji Temple (World Heritage)
Toshodai-ji Temple was a private temple called “Touritsu Shodai” initiated by Ganjin-wajo as a training hall where Buddhist precepts were taught. In the precinct, the Main Hall, the largest existing example of Tempyo architecture (repairs completed in November 2009) and the Lecture Hall, which was relocated from Heijo-kyo, stand side by side.
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Access:Approx. a 10-minute walk from Kintetsu Nishinokyo Sta.
http://www.toshodaiji.jp/ (in Japanese)

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