[JAPAN] NARA TRAVEL GUIDE – Things to Do & Places to Go

Located less than an hour from Kyoto and Osaka, Nara is a charming destination in Japan with many historic treasures. For first timer, you might want to know what to do, where to go, where to stay, or where to eat in Nara right? Well AnakJajan got you covered, here it is NARA TRAVEL GUIDE.

[UPDATE] Check our VLOG below to see our fun experiences in Nara↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓

From the scenic landscapes, shrines, temples, museum, gardens, to parks with hundreds of deer. Nara has so many things to offer.

During #AnakJajanJAPAN trip to Japan on February 2018, we explored Nara in one and a half days visiting some famous local spots. You can check following cuztomized map with multiple destinations that we’ve visited in Nara for your reference.

For route guide, we recommend you all to download “Japan Official Travel App” www.jnto.go.jp/smartapp/eng
The App has helpful and regularly updated features such as map, public transport info, free Wi-Fi spots, articles, etc. AnakJajan personally love the “Route” feature the most, so far it has the most detailed transit search with easy to read information. For Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) www.japanrailpass.net users, the App even has special feature where we can prioritize JR Pass routes on our search.

From Tokyo: Approximately 3 hours from Tokyo Station to Kintetsu Nara Station via Shinkansen.
(Tokyo Station – Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Nozomi Line → Kyoto Station, and then Kyoto Station – Kintetsu Kyoto Line → Kintetsu Nara Station)

From Osaka: Approximately 40 minutes from Osaka Namba Station to Kintetsu Nara Station via limited express.
(Osaka Namba Station – Kintetsu Nara Line Express → Kintetsu Nara Station)

From Kyoto: If you are using , you can take Miyakoji Rapid train from JR Kyoto Station to JR Nara Station, it takes approximately 45minutes and it’s covered by JR Pass.


Tōdai-ji 東大寺 & Nara Park 奈良公園

AnakJajan can easily say that a visit to Nara won’t be complete without visiting Tōdai-ji, one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temples.

If you google Nara places to visit, we are 100% sure that Tōdai-ji will immediately appear in the search result, well it’s one of the landmarks of Nara.

While Hōryū-ji is known as world’s oldest wooden building, Tōdaiji is known as world’s largest wooden building with Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu) inside.

Located in the same area (walking distance), there’s another top attraction in Nara called Nara Park, it’s home to hundreds of freely roaming deer and it has become the symbol of Nara as well.

If you’re interested, you can purchase Deer Crackers (JPY150) and feed them. Do you know that some deer have learned to bow to ask to be fed? We tried to bow to some deer and to our surprise, a few deer answered us by bowing back. Give it a try, we’re sure you’ll get surprised as much as we did.

Horyuji Temple 法隆寺
Known one of the Japan’s oldest temples, Hōryū-ji is the house for world’s oldest surviving wooden structure registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As it existed more than 1,300 years ago, it’s a great historic destination to visit. Inside, visitors are able to see national treasures as well as important cultural properties.

Kashihara Shrine 橿原神宮
Aside from being National Important Cultural Property, Kashihara Shrine is a popular shrine situated in preserved forest area at the base of Mount Unebi.

Akashiya 株式会社あかしや
Akashiya is Japan’s largest manufacturer of writing brushes. At their shop, you can purchase variety of traditional Japanese brushes as well as modern brush for make-up.

During our visit, we joined a brush making class there, it’s a hands-on experience while learning about the type of brush and the history.


Syunsai Hiyori 旬彩ひより「大和伝統野菜」ならまち
Every time AnakJajan travel, we always make sure to try local dish for more complete experience. Our visit to Syunsai Hiyori left us awed, we were totally impressed by how well they meticulously prepare the dish in a very palatable way.

Vegetable gratin, it looks so simple yet it tastes incredibly delicious

We had the Beef and Vegetable set menu with local Yamato vegetables as well as the famous Yamato Gyu/ Beef. The food was AMAZINGLY delicious without losing the natural taste of ingredients.


Kashihara Royal Hotel
On our visit to Nara, AnakJajan stayed on night in Kashihara – Nara. The hotel name is Kashihara Royal Hotel, it’s located strategically near Kashiharajingu-Mae Station with many shops, cafes, and restaurants nearby.

As for the room, aside from modern room, Kashihara Royal Hotel offers traditional Japanese-style or tatami room which we highly recommend for a great experience. The hotel also offers onsen or hotspring for hotel guest for relaxation. During the night, the room will be rearranged by hotel staff with futon bed neatly arranged.

We major love the breakfast buffet spread there, it’s filled with so many scrumptious variety of local Nara cuisine.

Thank you for reading our Nara Travel Guide, you can check our Japan Travel Guide about Kyoto and Osaka too. 🙂

The trip is sponsored by Japan National Tourism Organization.

Check link below for more Japan Travel posts↓↓↓

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