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Suggested See & Do

Uniquely Nara

Romantic Evenings

The geography of Nara, with gentle mountains encircling a flat basin, lends itself to stunning sunset views. In the evenings, lantern-lit shrine grounds and seasonal illuminations make for intimate walks. Nara provides the perfect setting for a romantic break, uninterrupted and unhurried.


Nara’s wild deer are one of its most famous attractions. Roaming freely around Nara Park, they’ve been revered as messengers of the gods since the Nara period. Killing one is no longer punishable by death, but they deserve respect. Only feed them the official “shika sembei” crackers, sold around the park.

Outdoor Activities


Nara is a popular destination for nature lovers. With its dramatic mountains and distinct seasons, it is beautiful all year. Hikers and walkers will find a variety of paths from easy walks through Murou and the lower parts of Yoshino and Dorogawa, to the challenging heights of the ancient Kumano Kodo network of pilgrimage routes.


Ringed by mountains, Nara also boasts flat, fertile plains that are perfect for cycling. Outside the main tourist areas, the attractions are quite spread out and traffic is light, so renting a bicycle, particularly around Asuka, Imaicho and the Yamanobe-no-Michi trail, is not only a good option but also makes for a fun day out.

Tours & Excursions

Brewery Tours & Sake Tasting

There are around 50 small sake breweries across Nara, many offering tastings and tours. The best time to visit is from late November through March; production shuts down in summer. Tours are free or around ¥500 including tastings. It’s a good idea to book ahead, especially for groups. Your hotel or the tourist information center can help.

Sightseeing Tours

With so many fantastic places to see - many outside the main city center - a day tour can save you the trouble of planning and working out transport connections. Nara Visitor Center & Inn is an official visitors center near Nara Park, offering cultural activities and tours, including fruit picking, sake tasting and tea ceremony.

World Heritage

Buddhist Monuments in the Horyuji Area

Horyuji Temple and its surrounds are home to 48 World Heritage Buddhist Monuments, from the world’s oldest wooden building to stunning sculptures. These are the earliest Buddhist monuments in Japan, and key examples of the cultural exchange between China, Korea and Japan but also of the nation’s growing artistic independence. A visit to Horyuji should be on any Nara itinerary.

Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara

As the nation’s capital from 710 to 784, Nara flourished as the center of culture and modernisation. Many of the great monuments of that time, including grand Buddhist temples like Todaiji Temple and Shinto shrines like Kasugataisha Shrine, still exist today, along with the ruins of the old Imperial Palace. These are some of Nara's blockbuster attractions.

Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range

The three sacred sites of Yoshino and Omine, Kumano Sanzan and Koyasan are linked by a network of pilgrimage routes to the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto. These routes through the Kii Mountains are World Heritage sites, for their fusion of ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices and stunning natural beauty. Hiking just part of one makes for an enjoyable and cultural holiday experience.


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