Since Nara, Japan, is located close to the more touristy Kyoto, it often sits in the shadow of its flashier neighbour city when it comes to travel itineraries. However, this scenic town is known to have far better maintained historic attractions, such as the Naramachi districtwith its restored traditional homes. The main focus for most tourists is Nara Park, which contains numerous Buddhist shrines and temples from ancient times and serves as a sanctuary for the local deer. You can see Japan's largest statue of Buddha, called the ‘Daibutsu’, and a few other huge statues at the Tōdai-ji temple in the Daibutsu-den. The Kōfuku-ji temple features tall, stately pagodas that you can see from the nearby Sarusawa Pond. If you enjoy learning about Buddhist art and history, you should visit the Nara National Museum,which offers rotating exhibits of some of the finest Buddhist collections in Japan. If you can only spend one day in Nara, take a walk through theKasuga-yama Hill Primeval Forest. The paths there will take you past theKasuga Taisha temple and the Isui-en Garden.Stop at Shin-Yakushi-ji to see the Buddha statue guarded by 12 rather daunting warrior statues. ... Read more »
When To Go
The basin area ofNara has warmer weather than the mountainous areas of this prefecture. Summertime is quite warm, with high temperatures around 25-28°C (77-82°F). It also rains heavily in the summer months, and this area receives more rainfall than anywhere else in Japan. In fact, Naraexperiences about 30-50 cm (11.8-19.7 in) annually. Winters are fairly cold, with lows around 3-5°C (37-41°F) in lower areas. The mountains are much colder, with temperatures below freezing. The best times to visit anywhere in Nara is during the spring and the fall. The cherry trees are quite a sight to behold in springtime when they are in full bloom, and the oak trees offer equally radiant fall colours. These two seasons also offer the most mild and tolerable temperatures.
- Summer highs 25–28°C (77-82°F); winter lows 3-5°C (37-41°F)
- Annual rainfall 30-50 cm (11.8-19.7 in), mostly in summer
- Fall/spring pleasant and beautiful
Those travelling by air will fly into the Kansai International Airport or Itami Airport in Osaka, as Naradoes not have its own airport. You can take a limousine bus from either airport to one of Nara’s train stations. It is an hour trip from Itama and slightly longer from Kansai. It is most convenient to use the rails to get into and around Nara. The JR Nara and Kintetsu Kyoto lines both run to Kyoto, and Kintetsu has service to Osaka. You can save money with a two- or three-day Kansai Thru-Pass, which will provide unlimited access to rail, bus and metro services for Nara, Kyoto and Osaka. If you are just going to Nara for the day, it is cheap and easy to use city buses to get around.
- Kansai, Itami closest airports
- JR Nara, Kintetsu Kyoto train lines
- Cheap buses to tourist attractions