Nara is one of the most popular cities in Kansai for travellers, due to its natural beauty and its fascinating historical monuments, being the capital of Japan prior to Kyoto. Many travellers come to Nara on Japan Railways (JR). JR Nara is located in the centre of Nara, being less than 30 minutes from historical monuments like Todaiji and cultural institutions such as Nara National Museum. Linked by the Sanjo-Dori to the major tourist attractions, visitors can taste Kansai cuisine and shop for gifts that are unique to this historic city.
The privately run Kintetsu Nara Station, which operates trains to Namba via Shin Omiya, is ten minutes’ walk from the JR Station. An eight minute walk from Kintetsu Shin Omiya Station is Round 5, a popular entertainment complex with ten pin bowling, karaoke, billards, darts and an amusement game centre. It is suitable for people of all ages and a great place to go at night or during inclement weather.
JR Nara Station is designed for first time tourists and is very user-friendly. The tourist information counter has English speaking staff and provides details about access and opening hours for the popular local attractions, with maps and other information in English. You can also ask them about bus transport or details about set tours by bus. They also have information and brochures about sightseeing ideas beyond Nara in other parts of Kansai as well. For example, how to transit from JR line to local bus or train lines, and basic information for various attractions, like their opening hours and admission fees. They also have information on seasonal activities, such as the summer fireworks and art festivals within the area, as well as the Setouchi Art Festival in the summer and autumn seasons, so the information centre is a hub of inspiration.
To buy train tickets at JR Nara, a number of ticket machines are there for your convenience. They are simple to use with instructions available in both Japanese and English. In case you have any doubts about how you reach your destination or the time of your train, feel free to ask the staff, they are experienced and proficient in English, and are always ready to serve you.
The East exit of the station is connected with the Vierra Nara department store, with an eat street of restaurants and a supermarket on the ground floor offering a variety of take away food and other conveniences. Many convenient stores and a few hotels are close by as well. Even though Nara may be a smaller than its bigger neighbours in Kyoto and Osaka, its compact size and friendly people more than make up for it, making it an ideal place to start your holiday in Japan before tackling the bigger cities.