Nara flourished to become one of Asia’s grandest cities during its 74-year reign as Japan’s first capital. As the most eastern destination on the Silk Road, Nara absorbed ideas from other mainland Asian countries and developed into the grand diocese of Buddhism.

    This small and compact city has a number of fascinating sites dating back to the 7th century, when it had its heyday. There are 3 World Heritage Sites and many impressive shrines, temples and ruins within the 1,300 acres of Nara Park. Over 1,000 tame deer wander the park freely and are regarded by locals as messengers of the gods. You can purchase special wafer biscuits in the park to feed them. 

    What to see & do in Nara

    Featured stories & fun stuff
    • 13 Best Things to Do in Nara

      Nara, once known as Heijo-kyo, was the first capital of Japan (710-794). It's home to 3 of Japan’s World Heritage Sites and many impressive shrines, temples and ruins. Nara is blessed as it somehow escaped the widespread destruction during WWII, plus it has managed to preserve its historic charm very well. If you don’t have much time to...

    Where & what to eat in Nara

    • 7 Best Restaurants in Nara

      Lately Nara has been hosting more and more tourists and this means more and more dining opportunities. While the majority of Nara restaurants still focus on ultra-healthy Japanese cuisine, visitors will discover other options including Chinese, French, Israeli, and Italian food. Not all Nara restaurants serve outrageously expensive food. Tourists on a tight budget can enjoy good meals at...

    Where to shop & what to buy in Nara

    • 7 Best Shopping Experiences in Nara

      Nara’s shopping choices surprises many day-trippers with its wide variety of goods – so much so that many regret that they didn’t plan to stay longer. For serious shoppers who are after only top-quality Japanese items, look around the Higashimuki & Mochiidono shopping arcades as well as the traditional local shops in the charming old town quarter, Naramachi. Some of...

    Where to go & what to do at night in Nara

    • 3 Cool Things to Do in Nara at Night

      Nara is a small, ancient town that has more temples than bars, so you should expect the nightlife in Nara to be relaxed. Of course, there are several bars where you can watch live bands, sample Nara’s famed sake brands, or just eat and drink with friends in a neighbourhood izakaya. The most convenient area to start off is the...

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    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.