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 compact city was one of Japan’s earliest capitals and is UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed – it's home to a significant collection of ancient Buddhist temples, the grand Shinto shrine of Kasuga-Taisha, the Heijo imperial palace, and the beautiful Kasugayama primaeval forest. A must-see in Nara is Todai-Ji temple, home to the world’s largest bronze Buddha which stands 15 metres tall. In the heart of the city, you can still be close to nature – see wild deer roaming free at the picturesque Nara Park. 

    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

    Things to do in Nara include serene outdoor parks, ancient Buddhist shrines, museums, historic ruins and modern theme parks with tons of opportunities for shopping, dining and entertainment. The sheer number of Buddhist shrines and temples here is mind-blowing, with some, like Kasuga-taisha, dating back over 1,300 years and Kōfuku-ji dating to 710 CE. Temples like Hōryū-ji have several historic buildings onsite, and at Daibutsu-den... Read more

    Where & what to eat in Nara

    • 6 Best Restaurants in Nara

      Food and dining in Nara allow the unique opportunity to explore Japanese history through food, with many of the dishes here dating back hundreds of years. At one point, Nara was the centre of the culinary culture in Japan, and even today you can try iconic dishes like kuzumochi, or rice cakes covered with sweet bean paste. You can try...

    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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