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Nara travel pictures

A visit to the historical sights of Nara

The city Nara lies close to its larger and better known neighbor Osaka. What sets this place apart from many other cities in Japan are its many historical sights, a feature it shares probably only with Kyoto. The majority of these sights are clustered together in and around a park in an area called 'historic monuments of ancient Nara'. This UNESCO world heritage site consists of several large and small temples and shrines, a park, a forest and some additional buildings. In the park there are many deer walking around and you can even buy some biscuits from the street vendors to feed them. They are well accustomed to tourists.

The largest temple in this area is the Todaiji temple which contains one of the largest wooden structures in the world, the Daibutsuden. Inside there is a statue of Buddha and several other statues. Together with the massive courtyards the Todaji temple is probably one of the most impressive temples in Japan. Close to Todaiji is a small complex which consists of the Great Bell, Nigatsu-do hall, Sangatsu-do hall and the Tamukeyama Hachimangu shrine. Having several ancient structures like these close together creates a charming environment, especially in its natural setting. Another important sight is the Kasuga Taisha shrine. This is located within a forest and creates a very different atmosphere to the park. Around the temple there are several other smaller religious structures and along the paths you will find many Japanese lanterns. Other places to visit inside Nara park include Ukimido Gazebo, Kohfukuji temple and the Gangoji temple. It is easy to spent a full day in this park without getting bored.

On the other side of Nara there are historical sights as well with the main ones being the Heiji palace site, Toshodaji temple and the Yakushiji temple. The Heiji palace site is home to first imperial audience hall. Unfortunately many of the other buildings do not exist anymore, but the main palace still stands and you can get of view of the surrounding grounds. Some of the foundations are still remaining and several smaller buildings have been reconstructed.

The two other sights, Toshodaji temple and Yakushiji temple are very pretty and represent Japan at is best from a religious point. These temples have nice grounds surrounding them with several additional structures and Japanese gardens. These areas have been preserved quite well. Because of their location on the outskirts of Nara you can also spot some rice fields between the houses.

There are a few places worth visiting as a day trip from Nara. These are the palace at Iga Ueno, the tomb of Ishibutai in Asuka and during the cherry blossom month the surroundings of Yoshino. 

Getting into Nara means for most people catching a train from Kyoto or Osaka which only takes one hour. Public transportation in Japan is excellent so this is a perfect way of getting there. Getting around town is a bit harder. There are buses and trains, but many do require a bit of walking, especially around the park. It should be considered to split a visit to the city into two days and explore the two parts on separate days. The best time to visit is from April to November as then temperatures are not too low. It should be noted that during the summer months of July and August it can be boiling hot on some days. Therefore, spring and fall are the most comfortable ones. At the end of March the cherry blossom season starts which lasts well into April. This is considered the most beautiful time of the year but also coincides with the school holidays making it busier.


Nara travel photo gallery

 
Small Buddhist temple in Nara.

Small Buddhist temple.

 
A deer in Nara historical park.

A deer in the historical park.

 
Tokon-do hall and the five story pagoda.

Tokon-do hall and the five story pagoda.




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Tokon-do hall, Nara.

Tokon-do hall.

 
Five story pagoda, Nara.

Five story pagoda.

 
Japanese inscriptions in wood.

Japanese inscriptions in wood.

 
Five story pagoda in Nara, Japan.

Five story pagoda.

 



Kohfukuji temple, Nara.

Kohfukuji temple.

 



Tokon-do hall in Nara historical park.

Tokon-do hall in the historical park.

 
Nara national museum.

National museum.

 
Traditional shop in Nara Japan.

Traditional shop.

 
Nandaimon gate, Nara.

Nandaimon gate.

 
The impressive wooden Nandaimon gate in Nara, Japan.

The impressive wooden Nandaimon gate.

 
Todaji temple, Nara.

Todaji temple.

 
Daibutsuden in the Todaji temple.

Daibutsuden in the Todaji temple.

 
Statue of Bishamonten in the Todaji temple.

Statue of Bishamonten in the Todaji temple.

 
Great Buddha in the Todaji temple.

Great Buddha in the Todaji temple.

 
Gardens of the Todaji temple.

Gardens of the Todaji temple.

 
Gate of the Todaji temple in Nara historical park.

Gate of the Todaji temple in the historical park.

 
Great bell, Nara.

Great bell.

 
The great bell in Nara historical park, Japan.

The great bell in Nara historical park.

 
Path leading to Nigatsu-do and Sangatsu-do hall.

Path leading to Nigatsu-do and Sangatsu-do hall.

 
Religious symbols in Nara historical park.

Religious symbols in the historical park.

 
Nigatsu-do hall, Nara.

Nigatsu-do hall.

 



Japanese temple.

Japanese temple.

 



Buddhist temple.

Buddhist temple.

 
Decorations of Nigatsu-do hall.

Decorations of Nigatsu-do hall.

 
Sangatsu-do hall.

Sangatsu-do hall.

 
Nigatsu-do hall.

Nigatsu-do hall.

 
Concrete lanterns and other Buddhist decorations.

Concrete lanterns and other Buddhist decorations.

 
Wakamija Jinja shrine.

Wakamija Jinja shrine.

 



Small wooden structures belonging to the Wakamija Jinja shrine, Nara.

Small wooden structures belonging to the Wakamija Jinja shrine.

 



Path leading through the forest.

Path leading through the forest.

 



Small shrine.

Small shrine.

 



Part of the Wakamija Jinja shrine.

Part of the Wakamija Jinja shrine.

 
Typical Buddhist temple.

Typical Buddhist temple.

 



Decorations of the  Wakamija Jinja shrine.

Decorations of the Wakamija Jinja shrine.

 
Wakamija Jinja shrine, Nara.

Wakamija Jinja shrine.

 



Main entrance to the Wakamija Jinja shrine in Nara, Japan.

Main entrance to the Wakamija Jinja shrine.

 
Lanterns along the path leading to  Wakamija Jinja shrine.

Lanterns along the path leading to Wakamija Jinja shrine.

 
Mythical scenery in the forest.

Mythical scenery in the forest.

 
Japanese lanterns in the forest.

Japanese lanterns in the forest.

 
Small structures belonging to the  Wakamija Jinja shrine.

Small structures belonging to the Wakamija Jinja shrine.

 
Red colored Buddhist structures in the forest of Nara.

Red colored Buddhist structures in the forest.

 
Small torii belonging to  Wakamija Jinja shrine.

Small torii belonging to Wakamija Jinja shrine.

 
View over the park: historic monuments of ancient Nara.

View over the park: historic monuments of ancient Nara.

 
Ukimido Gazebo, Nara.

Ukimido Gazebo.

 
Todaji temple from the outside.

Todaji temple from the outside.

 
Nara national museum in the historical park.

National museum in the historical park.

 
Rice fields on the outskirts of Nara.

Rice fields on the outskirts of the city.

 
Houses between rice fields.

Houses between rice fields.

 



Toshodaiji temple.

Toshodaiji temple.

 
Lillie’s in Toshodaji temple.

Lillie’s in Toshodaji temple.

 



The main temple of Toshodaiji temple, Nara.

The main temple of Toshodaiji temple.

 
Temple and courtyard.

Temple and courtyard.

 
Toshodaiji temple in Nara, Japan.

Toshodaiji temple.

 
Sacred altar at Toshodaiji temple.

Sacred altar at Toshodaiji temple.

 
First imperial audience hall.

First imperial audience hall.

 
First imperial audience hall at the Heijo palace site, Nara.

First imperial audience hall at the Heijo palace site.

 
Japanese garden with in the back the First imperial audience hall.

Japanese garden with in the back the First imperial audience hall.

 
Old foundations of Heijo palace site.

Old foundations of Heijo palace site.

 
Suzaka gate.

Suzaka gate.

 
Yakushiji temple.

Yakushiji temple.

 



Grounds of the Yakushiji temple.

Grounds of the temple.

 



Smaller building in the Yakushiji temple complex.

Smaller building.

 
Yakushiji temple in Nara, Japan.

Yakushiji temple.

 



The main building of the Yakushiji temple, Nara.

The main building of the Yakushiji temple.

 
Pagoda of the Yakushiji temple.

Pagoda of the Yakushiji temple.

 
Pagoda of the Yakushiji temple in Nara, Japan.

Pagoda of the Yakushiji temple.

 
Yakushiji temple, Nara.

Yakushiji temple.

 
The Buddhist Yakushiji temple.

The Buddhist Yakushiji temple.

 
Buildings of the Yakushiji temple, Nara.

Buildings of the Yakushiji temple.



Internet sites with information about Nara



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Last update: 11/09/2013