Japan's first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara (奈良). As the influence and political ambitions of the city's powerful Buddhist monasteries grew to become a serious threat to the government, the capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784 and a few years later to Kyoto.

Nara is located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples.

Top attractions in Nara

3
Festival

Omizutori••

Buddhist ceremonies involving water and fire.
4.0 / 5
164
6
Park

Nara Park

Central city park with wild deer.
4.1 / 5
3,543
10
Temple

Shin-Yakushiji

With beautiful statues of Yakushi and guardians.
3.8 / 5
271
13
Historic Site

Heijo Palace

The former site of Nara's Imperial Palace.
3.7 / 5
697
14
Garden

Yoshikien Garden

Consisting of three distinct Japanese gardens.
3.9 / 5
327
15
Historic Site

Naramachi

Former merchant district with old houses.
3.7 / 5
806
16
Viewpoint/Tower

Wakakusayama

Grass covered mountain behind Nara Park.
3.7 / 5
290
Side Trips from Nara
1

Yoshino

Japan's most famous cherry blossom spot.
4.1 / 5
331
2

Iga Ueno

Former castle town famous for ninja.
3.4 / 5
558

Access and Orientation

Hotels around Nara

Recommended Hotels
Asukaso
Centrally located ryokan with outdoor baths that view onto the pagoda of Kofukuji Temple.
Book:
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Hotel Fujita Nara
Regular business hotel located halfway between JR Nara Station and Nara Park.
Book:
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Nara Hotel
One of the oldest Western style hotels in Japan, located next to Nara Park.
Book:
Agoda Booking

Tours and travel services