15 Things to Do and See in Nara | FAST JAPAN
Nara Park

15 Things to Do and See in Nara

Nara has so many things to offer, not only historic temples and shrines, but also cherry blossom spots and hot springs! Make sure Nara is a stop on your list while in Japan.

#1. Todaiji Temple

nara things to do

Todaiji Temple, considered one of the most important structures in early Japanese Buddhism, houses one of the largest statue of Buddha. Todaiji Temple also known as Daibutsu is the headquarters of Kegon Buddhism. It was built by Emperor Shomu in 768 after he issued an edict in Japan to promote Buddhism for peace and prosperity. Its treasure house, known as Shosoin, is also famous for its collection of silk road artwork.
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Todaiji Temple

Address: 406-1 Zoshicho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture

Access: 20 minute walk from Kintetsu-Nara Station

8:00 AM – 4:30 PM (November – February)
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (March)
7:30 AM – 5:30 PM (April – September)
7:30 AM – 5:00 PM (October)

500 yen (Adult)
300 yen (Child)

Phone: 0742-22-5511

Website: Todaij Temple


#2. Nara Park

nara things to do

Many of must visit places in Nara are located in this beautiful park; Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha Shrine and Wakakusayama. One of the main attractions here are the local sacred Shika Deer and the ability to make contact with them. Because of its natural history the park is designated as a natural monument. Don’t forget to get rice crackers to feed the deer when you meet them!
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Nara Park

Address: Nara City, Nara Prefecture

Access: 5 minute walk from Kintetsu-Nara Station

Phone: 0742-22-0375

Website: Nara Park (Japanese)


#3. Isuien Garden

Things to Do in Nara

Isuien Garden is a peaceful and quiet Japanese garden located between Todaiji and Kohukuji has two different themed gardens. The best season to visit here is autumn as all the leaves turn red making the area remarkably beautiful. Near the gardens is the Neiraku Museum which is a famous place to view traditional Japanese ceramics. This garden is very expansive covering approximately 13,000 square meters, make sure you wear comfortable shoes.
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Isuien Garden

Address: 74 Suimonmachi, Nara City, Nara Prefecture

Access: 15 minute walk from Kintetsu-Nara Station

Hours: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM
*Closed on Tuesdays

900 yen (Adults)
810 yen (Students)
500 yen (Age 13 – 18)
300 yen (Under 12)

Phone: 0742-25-0781

Website: Isuien Garden


#4. Suspension Bridge in Tanize

nara things to do

This bridge was originally built in 1954 for the livelihood of the local community. This huge suspension bridge is famous for its length of 297 meters. If you are brave enough to cross the bridge, you can have a splendid view of the beautiful nature of the Totsu River running underneath. The bridge is a popular summer attraction that can become very congested at times but it is definitely worth checking out.
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Suspension Bridge in Tanize

Address: Tanize, Totsukawamura, Yoshinogun, Nara Prefecture

90 minute car ride from Katsuragi IC
4 hours by bus ride from Yagi Station

Phone: 0746-63-0200

Website: Suspension Bridge in Tanise (Japanese)


#5. Naramachi Koshi House

nara things to do

Naramachi is an area in the center of Nara City that houses the preserved remains old house. Here, the traditional Japanese house “machiya” is recreated so you can learn about the lifestyle, architecture and people of the traditional Nara City. Commonly referred as the lattice house because of the way the building is built. If you have a chance to visit it’s a cool way to experience the past.
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Naramachi Koshi House

Address: 44 Gangoujicho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture

Access: 13 minute walk from JR Nara Station

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
*Closed Monday, December 26 – January 5

Phone: 0742-23-4820

Website: Naramachi Koshi House (Japanese)


#6. Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Things to Do in Nara

Kasuga Taisha is a large Shinto shrine near Nara Park. Near the shrine is the the Kasugayama Primevil Forest which is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are over 3,000 stone lanterns in the area that you can view on your way to Kasuga Taisha. It is believed that Shinto gods inhabit the shrine.
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Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Address: 160, Kasuganocho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture

Access: 15 minute bus ride from JR Nara Station and get off at Kasuga Taisha Honden bus stop

6:00 AM – 6:00 PM (April – September)
6:30 AM – 5:00 PM (October – March)
*Closed March 8 – 13, December 20 – January 7

500 yen (Adult)
300 yen (Student)
200 yen (Junior)

Phone: 0742-22-7788

Website: Kasuga Taisha Shrine


#7. Mount Wakakusa

nara things to do

This small mountain is located in Nara Park. It offers you a bit of exercise and a beautiful view of the city from the top. The sunset from Mount Wakakusa will leave you speechless. If you have chance, go and see their annual ritual event burning the dead grass of mountain takes place on the fourth Saturday of January. The ritual burning tradition is said to have originated because of a boundary dispute.
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Mount Wakakusa

Address: Zoushicho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture

15 minute bus ride from JR Nara Station and get off at Kasuga-Taisha-Honden or Todaiji-Daibutsuden-Mae bus stop, 15 minute walk from there
30 minute walk from Nara Station

Open Period:
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (3rd Saturday of March – 2nd Sunday of December)

150 yen (Adult)
80 yen (Child)

Phone: 0742-22-0375

Website: Nara Park (Japanese)


#8. Yakushiji Temple

nara things to do

The marvelous Yakushiji Temple vividly colored in vermilion has a great collection of statues of Buddha. Their elaborate, beautiful architecture is expressed as “frozen music”. On New Year’s eve, Yakushiji Temple is open for free and you’ll have a chance to get involve with Japanese tradition by ringing the bell to wish for a wholesome new year. This one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in the Nara area.
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Address: 457 Nishinokyomachi, Nara City, Nara Prefecture

Access: 1 minute walk from Nihinokyo-machi Station

Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

800 yen (Adult)
500 yen (Student)
200 yen (Child)
*Fee changes depending on exhibition

Phone: 0742-33-6001

Website: Yakushiji (Japanese)


#9. Horyuji Temple

Things to Do in Nara

Horyuji Temple is probably the most famous location within Nara, known to be famous for haiku’s which are Japanese poems that you may be familiar with. This is also one of the oldest wooden buildings in Japan built in 607. This five story tower is famous for its strength that has allowed it to survive centuries; although it is believed that a may have fire destroyed the building early in it’s life and it has since been rebuilt. there is some controversy surrounding this subject.
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Horyuji Temple

Address: 1-1 Horyuji Yamauchi, Ikarugacho, Ikomagun, Nara Prefecture

8 minute bus ride from JR Horyuji Station and get off at Houryuji-Monmae bus stop
20 minute walk from JR Horyuji Station

8:00 AM – 4:30 PM (November 4 – February 21)
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (February 22 – November 3)

1,500 yen (Adult)
750 yen (Child)

Phone: 0745-75-2555

Website: Horyuji Temple


#10. Nara Heijo Palace

nara things to do

Nara Heijo Palace was proclaimed to be the capital of ancient Japan around 1300 years ago. The main hall was restored fully for the celebration of its 1300-year-anniversary in 2010. Walk around the historical site and you will surrounded by the air of Nara in old time. While you are here you should view the Suzaku gate which is around 25 meters wide! The palace area also houses a museum that works in recovering the site as well as presenting it’s history.
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Nara Heijo Palace

Address: 4-6-1 Nijooji Minami, Nara City, Nara Prefecture

15 minute walk from Yamatosaidaiji Station
33 minute bus ride from JR Nara Station and get off at Heijokyoato bus stop

Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
*Closed Monday

Phone: 0742-30-6753

Website: Nara Heijo Palace (Japanese)


#11. Ukimido

Things to Do in Nara

Known as Mangetsu Ji in Japanese, this Buddhism hall rests within a large pond in Nara Park, looking as if it hovers over the water. The cypress bark roof and the pentagon shape are some of the unique features of this hall. Moreover, the reflection of the hall on the surface of the water is fantastic and you should see it with your own eyes.
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Address: Yamanoue, Takabatakecho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture

Access: 10 minute bus ride from JR Nara Station and get off at Todaiji Daibutsuden Kasuga Taisha Mae bus stop 5 minute walk from there

Website: Ukimido (Japanese)


#12. Umami Kyuryo Park

nara things to do

Beautiful seasonal flowers welcome you into this park with large beds. As far as the flowers are concerned, Tulips are available for viewing in spring, sunflowers in summer, cosmos in autumn and dahlias in winter. This is a good place for family outing or for couples that are looking for a great place to do outdoor activities together.
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Umami Kyuryo Park

Address: Samita, Kitakatsuragi-gun Kawaicho, Nara Prefecture

Access: 2 minute walk from Kintetsu Ikebe Station

Hours: 24 Hours

Fee: Free

Phone: 0745-56-3851

Website: Nara Prefecture (Japanese)


#13. Yoshinoyama

Things to Do in Nara

This is one of the best places in Japan for cherry blossom viewing. From early April, you can enjoy the stunning view of white wild cherry blossoms. It is possible to get a great view of the architecture among the tree line in the hills above for a once in a lifetime sight. Furthermore the mountain area is extremely beautiful in autumn as all the leaves changes their colors.
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Address: Yoshinoyama, Yoshinocho, Yoshinogun, Nara Prefecture

Access: Kintetsu Yoshino Station, then take Ropeway to Yoshinoyama Station

Ropeway Hours:
9:20 AM – 5:40 PM
7:40 AM – 7:40 PM (April 1-22)

610 yen (Adult)
310 yen (Child)

Phone: 0746-32-1007

Website: Yoshinoyama


#14. Dorogawa Onsen

nara things to do

Dorogawa is known for Shugendo, Japanese shamanism but it is also well known for it’s hot springs. Because It is located 800 meters above sea level, it’s nice weather even during the summer months. It is a popular belief that the hot springs located 1000 meters underground are good for your body and skin. The hot spring water is supplied to the large variety of inns in the area.
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Dorogawa Onsen

Address: Dorogawa, Amakawamura, Yoshinogun, Nara Prefecture

Access: 70 minute bus ride from Kintetsu Simoichiguchi Station and get off at Dorogawa Onsen Bus Stop

Phone: 0747-64-0333

Website: Dorogawa Onsen (Japanese)


#15. Goyomatsu Limestone Caves

Things to Do in Nara

Shonyudo are limestone caves, that are found all over Japan from north to south. If you are in the are it is a good opportunity to visiting one. The cave is located near Dorogara, a town famous for it’s shamanism. You will get in a trolley train that goes up the steep slope of the mountain to get to the entrance of the cave. Here you can enjoy a little exploration along with the creation of the natural beauty of the lit up cave!
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Goyomatsu Limestone Caves 

Address: Dorogawa, Amakawamura, Yoshinogun, Nara Prefecture

Access: 40 minute walk from Dorogawa Onsen Bus Stop Station

Hours: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM

400 yen (Adult)
200 yen (Child)

Phone: 0747-64-0188

Website: Goyomatsu Limestone Caves (Japanese)

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