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Culture to the Core

Nature and culture blend in woods and parks, home to UNESCO sites of ancient temples and bowing deer.


Discover Nara

Located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka by local train, Nara is a renowned cultural and historical center and was Japan’s first capital city. Discover Nara’s compact and easily navigable cityscape, which boasts some of Japan’s most significant shrines and temples.

Experience the grandeur of Todai-ji, one of The Seven Great Temples and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore The Great Buddha Hall and pay homage to Japan’s largest bronze Buddha statue standing at an impressive height of 15 meters. Accompanied by two Boddhisattva statues, this remarkable structure was once the world’s largest wooden building. Although it’s currently two-thirds of its original size after a reconstruction in 1692, the historical significance remains awe-inspiring. For more temples, venture to Nara’s Ikaruga district, home to a collection of UNESCO World Heritage temples. Among them, Horyu-ji, founded by Prince Shotoku in 607, is considered the world’s oldest surviving wooden building. Admire the temple’s great hall and treasure hall, showcasing priceless works of art, gilt carvings, and ancient statues. Explore these world-renowned temples and immerse yourself in an ancient world.

No visit to Nara is complete without a trip to the iconic Nara Park, where over a thousand free-roaming deer reside. Set against the backdrop of Mount Wakakusa, this expansive natural setting and unspoiled forests provide a peaceful escape from city life. The deer are accustomed to bowing their heads in exchange for deer cookies, available for purchase in the park. While generally tame, remember to treat them with respect, as they can display some attitude. Historically considered sacred messengers of the gods, the Nara deer now hold the status of an official National Treasure.

Within Nara Park, don’t miss the beloved Shinto Shrine, Kasuga Taisha. Embark on a path through the woods, leading you to the shrine built around the same time as the capital. Admire the vibrant orange and white façade of Kasuga Taisha, beautifully contrasting with the lush forest. With its natural cypress roof, captivating hanging lanterns, and opportunities to explore the inner shrine, Kasuga Taisha symbolizes the rich history and spirituality of Nara. Adjacent to the shrine, discover Japanese botanical gardens hosting over 250 varieties of plants and flowers.”

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