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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Nara
Naramachi
# 7   of 16 most visited
sights in Nara

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Naramachi (ޗǒ, literally "Nara Town") is the former merchant district of Nara, where several traditional residential buildings and warehouses have been preserved. Boutiques, shops, cafes, restaurants and a few museums now line the district's narrow lanes.

Many of the buildings in the Naramachi district were machiya, long, narrow "townhouses" that served both as the shops and the living quarters of the local merchants. The machiya's front was kept narrow in order to save on taxes, which used to be calculated on a property's street access rather than its total area. A few of the preserved machiya are open to the public.

Before the 15th century, the spacious grounds of Gangoji Temple occupied the area that is Naramachi today. Gangoji was one of Japan's most important temples during the Nara Period and has been dedicated a Unesco World Heritage Site. Only a couple of buildings of the temple remain today.

Below is a list of Naramachi's main attractions:

Gangoji Temple
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entrance until 16:30)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 400 yen
Gangoji Temple was one of Nara's seven great temples along with Todaiji, Yakushiji, Saidaiji, Kofukuji, Horyuji and Daianji. It originated as Asukadera in Asuka and was moved to Nara in 718. Asukadera is considered Japan's oldest temple. Today, Gangoji is only a small fraction of what it used to be.
Koshi-no-Ie Residence (Naramachi Lattic House)
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: Mondays (Tue if Mon is a national holiday) and the day following national holidays (except weekends)
Admission: Free
Koshi-no-Ie Residence is a former merchant home open to the public. It is the best place for a look at one of Nara's traditional machiya townhouses with a shop space in the front of the building and the living quarters in the rear.
Nara Craft Museum (Nara Kogeikan)
Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (entry until 17:30)
Closed: Mondays (Tue if Mon is a national holiday), the day following national holidays (except weekends), December 26 to January 5, and during exhibition changes
Admission: Free
This museum provides an introduction to the arts and crafts which Nara is famous for, including high quality writing brushes, ink and kogakumen masks among others.
Naramachi Shiryokan
Hours: 10:00 to 16:00
Closed: Weekdays
Admission: Free
This history museum in central Naramachi displays many artifacts with Japanese explanations. The museum also focuses on the brightly colored red and white hanging monkeys (migawari-zaru) commonly seen in Naramachi doorways. It is open on weekends and national holidays only.
Imanishike Shoin Residence
Hours: 10:00 to 14:00 (entry until 13:30)
Closed: Mondays, summer holidays, winter holidays
Admission: 350 yen
Imanishike Shoin Residence, located in the eastern part of Naramachi, is a former residence of an important temple official who worked at Kofukuji Temple. Imanishike has a pleasant garden, a large interior, and a space for enjoying green tea and Japanese sweets.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
Naramachi is located about a 10-15 minute walk to the south of Kintetsu Nara Station. From JR Nara Station, it is about a 20 minute walk to the southeast. Loop bus numbers 5 and 6 serve Kintetsu Nara Station, JR Nara Station and Naramachi.

How to get to and around Nara

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Hotels and Ryokan
Nara is commonly visited on a day trip from Kyoto or Osaka, and only a few tourists overnight there. Indeed, the range of accommodation in Nara is rather limited, but there are a few options for those aiming to visit the city in more than a day trip. A location close to Nara Park is generally preferred.
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Hotel Nikko Nara
Extremely convenient. Next door to JR Nara Station, within 10-min bus ride to Kokufu-ji Temple /Nara Park. Diverse restaurant menu and free Wi-Fi available.
Asukaso
A fine ryokan with hot spring bath offering views of the famous five-story pagoda. Located in the heart of Nara town.
Recommended Hotels around Nara - with lowest rates by selected hotel reservation websites
Asukaso
Centrally located ryokan with outdoor baths that view onto the pagoda of Kofukuji Temple.
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Agoda or Booking
Hotel Fujita Nara
Regular business hotel located halfway between JR Nara Station and Nara Park.
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Nara Hotel
One of the oldest Western style hotels in Japan, located next to Nara Park.
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Agoda or Booking

Tours and Packages
Nara Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Nara and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Naramachi:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  interesting  
User Rating (by 297 users):
80/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 784):
364.  Inuyama Castle (Inuyama)   80/100
365.  Shirahama Beach (Izu Peninsula)   80/100
366.  Nijo Jinya (Kyoto)   80/100
367.  Seisonkaku Villa (Kanazawa)   80/100
368.  Mount Rokko (Kobe)   80/100
369.  Naramachi (Nara)   80/100
370.  Samurai District (Kakunodate)   80/100
371.  Hakkeijima (Yokohama)   80/100
372.  Shikinaen Garden (Okinawa Island)   80/100
373.  Sounkyo Onsen (Daisetsuzan)   80/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
123.  Chinatown (Nagasaki)   660
124.  Matsumoto Castle (Matsumoto)   659
125.  Shinsekai (Osaka)   659
126.  Meriken Park (Kobe)   646
127.  Government Building (Tokyo)   642
128.  Naramachi (Nara)   634
129.  Ise Shrines (Ise Shima)   632
130.  Shuri Castle (Okinawa Island)   624
131.  Kenchoji Temple (Kamakura)   623
132.  Glover Garden (Nagasaki)   622

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Japanese Links
Naramachi Shiryokan
Official website.
Gangoji Temple
Official website.
Nara Craft Museum
Official website.
Imanishike Shoin
Official website.

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