With history and spirituality at its heart, Nara is dotted with several museums, temples and shrines. You’ll find serene vistas complementing the neat townscape when you visit this ancient city, which once served as the first permanent capital of Japan.
While Nara is a popular pit stop for Osaka or Kyoto-bound travellers, the city itself has an array of historic treasures waiting to be explored. Buddhist temples lend their atmospheric complexes to soul-searchers and visitors who want to simply admire the traditional architecture. Make your way to the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara – eight iconic places that are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage list. You can observe the Great Buddha statue at the Tōdai-ji temple and five-storey pagodas at the Kōfuku-ji temple. A little further, you’ll see Kasuga Taisha – a venerable Shinto shrine filled with thousands of lanterns.
The city’s composure is best experienced at Nara Park. Spread over 1240 acres, the park houses temple complexes and the Nara National Museum. You’ll also spot freely roaming deer, considered messengers of the gods. If you’re looking for a picnic spot nestled in the hills, you can hike up Mount Wakakusa and spend some time in the lap of nature.