• Nara in Japan

Nara

The historic city surveyed by deer

Nara is the capital of the prefecture of the same name, located in the Kansai region, not far from Kyoto and Osaka. In the 8th century, it was for 70 years the first permanent capital of Japan, under its former name of Heijo-kyo. The city is particularly renowned for its historical heritage.

Nara is easily accessible from Kyoto, with about 1 train every 45 minutes. The journey takes about 1 hour, and less if you take an express train. The road from Kyoto to Nara is very interesting, and it is advisable to stop, especially in Uji, famous for its green tea production.

Nara is a major tourist destination in Japan. The historic monuments of the ancient city of Nara are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Among the buildings not to be missed during a visit to Nara are the reconstruction of the former Imperial Palace Heijo, or Japan’s second oldest Western-style hotel, the Nara Hotel, which was built in 1909. This hotel, built entirely of wood, is also the residence of members of the imperial family when they visit the city.

Nara is also famous and appreciated for its thousands of deer and shika deer, which live in total freedom in the city and especially in the huge Nara Park (Nara Koen). Used for several centuries to a fearless cohabitation with man, these deer were historically considered as messengers of the deities and were even designated “natural treasure” in 1957!

Japanese gardens are also not to be outdone, with the Isuien and Yoshikien gardens, separated from each other by a simple river, and decorated with tea houses.

On the museum side, the National Museum of Nara is a must. There are permanent collections of ancient art, porcelain and theatre masks, as well as temporary exhibitions dedicated to traditional Japanese ceremonies.

For the anecdote, there was the “Nara Dreamland”, an old amusement park on the outskirts of the city that remained abandoned for a long time and attracted photographers from all over the world for its post-apocalyptic setting, who often took risks to obtain the best shot of the place. But the site has since been razed to the ground.

Nara in Japan map

General informations

Nara in japanese : 奈良

Region : Kansai

Prefecture : Nara

Population : 356,700 inhabitants

Density : 1,300 inhab/km²

  • Nara in Japan

Where to sleep in Nara

Hotel New Wakasa

A 12-minute walk from the Kintetsu Nara Train Station, Hotel New Wakasa offers Japanese-style rooms with tatami (woven-straw) flooring. A spacious public bath and foot bath is available for guests to relax in. Free luggage before and after check-in is available on site.

Kasuga Hotel

A 5-minute taxi ride from JR Nara Train Station and a 5-minute walk from Kofuku-ji Temple, Kasuga Hotel features Japanese cuisine and beautiful hot public baths. The spacious Japanese and Western rooms have free Wi-Fi.

Wakasa Annex

Wakasa Annex features an outdoor hot public bath and free WiFi. Other facilities include a 24-hour reception, drinks vending machines and free parking. Todai-ji Temple is only an 8-minute walk.

Kotono yado Musashino

Kotono yado Musashino offers accommodation in Nara, and is located a 11-minute drive from Nara Station on the Kintetsu Nara Line. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property and free private parking is available on site.

Asukasou

Featuring relaxing massages and public baths, Asukasou is just a 3-minute walk from Nara’s Kofuku Temple. Rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) flooring, a flat-screen TV and private bathroom.

Hotel Nikko Nara

Set in Nara, Hotel Nikko Nara is connected to JR Nara Station. Tōdai-ji temple and the Nara Park can be reached within a 30-minute walk from the property. A public bath, gym, spa and massage facilities are available for guests.

Nara Hotel

The century old Nara Hotel features classic Japanese architecture and elegant rooms with free WiFi. Located on Nara Park’s beautiful hills, it overlooks the ancient capital’s historic sites.

Noborioji Hotel

Only a 3-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, Noborioji Hotel Nara offers modern luxurious accommodations with warm lighting and free wired internet access. Guests can enjoy full-course French cuisines and refresh with aromatherapy massages. This hotel is awarded 4 Red Pavilions by the Michelin Guide Kansai 2014.

Hotel Fujita Nara

Only 500 m from JR Nara and Kintetsu Nara train stations, Hotel Fujita Nara has a relaxing massage service. It features 2 restaurants and offers bicycle rental. The air-conditioned rooms at Fujita Nara Hotel include a fridge and electric kettle.

Super Hotel Lohas JR Nara Eki

Only a 1-minute walk from the east exit of JR Nara Train Station, the modern Super Hotel Lohas boasts a natural hot-spring bath and a free breakfast with fresh-baked bread. Rooms offer free wired internet and a video-on-demand system. Free WiFi is available.

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  • Nara in Japan

Transportation in Nara

Map of the city of Nara and its bus network

nara bus toute map

Access

Nearest Airports : 

  • Kansai International Airport
  • Osaka (or Itami) International Airport

Main station :

  • Nara Station