Experiencing Nara Through the Seasons

It’s a cliche that Japan has four distinct seasons, but in Nara, it’s really true. With an abundance of nature, the changing seasons affect all aspects of life here. Every season has its pleasures, from soaking in a hot mountain spring on a cold winter's day, to joining in the frivolity of local village festivals in summer.

Seasonal Experiences


Summer in the mountains is beautiful, with comfortable temperatures, clear starry skies and the chance to see fireflies. Join Japanese families camping around Yoshino, Dorogawa Onsen and Totsukawa; many campsites offer tent rental and include shower and BBQ facilities. Near Soni Highland, you can opt for log cabins.

Brewery Tours & Sake Tasting

Sake production follows the autumn rice harvest, so the best time to see production is from November to March. Some busy breweries don’t open to the public at this time, but usually offer tastings in their retail space. Sipping atsukan, hot sake, will keep you warm in winter. Keep an eye out for hot spring ryokan that even serve sake in the bath.


Summer is the time for festivals and fireworks. Locals dress in cotton yukata and head to the nearest river or mountain to see one of the fireworks displays that run on weekends from late July to mid-August. With clear air and few high rise buildings, there are great views everywhere.


Hydrangeas, called ajisai in Japanese, are a popular flower around temples, blooming in June, at the beginning of the rainy season. Some temples like Yatadera in Yamato Koriyama, have thousands of ajisai, creating blue and pink floral clouds. Don’t miss the seasonal sweets crafted to mimic the flowers.


Lotus flowers have a strong significance in Buddhism. The flower is often compared to our lives; a lotus grows in mud, representing materialism and worldly concerns, yet the flower blooms beautiful and pure above the water, like a spiritual awakening. They bloom in ponds from mid August.


Often planted in fallow fields after the spring harvest, cosmos flowers seem wonderfully wild, tumbling across vast areas in a haze of pink and purple. Blooming in early September, they herald the beginning of autumn. Around the same time, higanbana, or red spider lilies sprout spontaneously, contrasting dramatically with the green rice fields.