Nara Prefecture

Japan's ancient capital delivers on culture

 By Paul Hackshaw   Dec 1, 2011

Nara was the site of the original capital of Japan, with the first capital being in Asuka in the south of the prefecture, then moved to the Heijo site in the early 8th century, around 718 AD. Many ancient relics and archaeological finds are still being discovered.

Nara is not considered as popular as the more bustling Kyoto, but in its own understated way acts like a quiet cousin to its more gregarious neighbor. Most tourists to Nara visit the prefecture in a day or two after seeing Kyoto but there is plenty for people to do in Nara as it's a large prefecture crammed with temples and history. It has a very long and distinguished history and some of the oldest buildings in Japan are in Nara, including Todaiji, which is the largest wooden building in the world and is a World Heritage site. Nara is famous for its park and the several hundred deer which roam free there.

Nara is accessible by using either the Kintetsu train line leaving from Kintetsu Nanba station to Nara station or by JR line to JR Nara or from Kyoto on the Kintetsu Kyoto. Kintetsu Nara and JR Nara station are within a short walking distance of each other. From Kansai International Airport (KIX) limousine buses go directly to JR and Kintetsu Nara station, making stops at both stations where one can make bus connections to hotels. Everything is within easy walking distance from the stations. The limousine bus trip from KIX takes about 90 minutes. Private train lines also connect Nara to Nagoya, and Kyoto as well as Osaka. 

If you're interested in tours or activities in Nara, please visit this page :

Written by Paul Hackshaw
Japan Travel Member

Leave a comment