5 Must Visit Nara Attractions & Travel Guide

1. Todai-ji Temple (東大寺)

Todaiji TempleFounded in the 8th century, this temple which houses the massive Vairocana statue, popularly known as Daibutsu (Great Buddha), was burned down twice in fires that broke out as result of war.

Todaiji Daibutsu

The present structure, which was rebuilt in 1709, was scaled down to 2/3 of the original size.  Nevertheless it is the largest wooden structure temple in the world. This temple is one of the main Nara attractions.

Opening Hours

Daily 8:00am – 5:00pm

2. Sika Deer in Nara Park

Sika Deer

According to legend, a mighty god from Kashima Shrine came to Nara riding on a white deer in the 8th century. Since then deer have been respected and protected as divine messengers.  Hence there are plenty deer roaming around.

Fun part is, you can buy Shika Senbei (deer crackers) and feed them.  The deer in this park are so polite that they bow to you when requesting for Shika Senbei!

3. Kofuku-ji Temple (興福寺)

Kofuku-ji Temple

Established in 7th century, Kofukuji used to be the family temple of the most powerful Fujiwara family clan during Nara & Heian Periods. The temple consisted of over 150 buildings at the height of Fujiwara influence.

The five story pagoda is Japan’s second tallest at 50 meters, just 7 meters shorter than the five story pagoda at Kyoto’s Toji Temple. Kofukuji’s pagoda is both a landmark and symbol of Nara. It was reconstructed in 1426 after it has burned down 5 times.

Opening Hours

Daily 9:00am – 5:00pm

4. Kasuga Taisha Grand Shrine (春日大社)

Kasuga Taisha Grand Shrine

Established in 768 AD and rebuilt several times over the centuries, it is the shrine of the Fujiwara family. Both paths to this shrine are lined with approx 2000 stone laterns and the eaves of the shrine itself are decorated with around 1000 hanging bronze lanterns.

Opening Hours

Daily 6:30am – 5:30pm

5. Higashimuki Shopping Street (東向き商店街)

The Higashimuki Shopping Street a 250-metre-long covered shopping street, is located just beside Kintetsu Nara Station. It is full of souvenir shops and a variety of restaurants.

Nara Guided Tour

Walk around the spacious Nara Park, known for its important cultural heritage (the Giant Buddha of Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine and more) and freely roaming deer and be accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide.

Book Online: Visit Nara Deer Park and Todaiji Temple with a local guide

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About Tommy Ooi 374 Articles
Luxury Hotel Reviewer & Destination Blogger. Passionate for travel, exploring new culture & indulging divine food, Tommy has traveled to 42 countries & 140+ destinations.

19 Comments

    • Hi Elaine, day trip should be sufficient, go early around 7 to 8am then you should make it back by 10pm. Packing & unpacking & moving hotel is tiring and time wasting

  1. I find your guide to be most helpful when you include the station/train lines but I didn’t see them listed for the Nara section of your guide. Was wondering if I missed something?

  2. hi tOMMY!
    we are travelling on april 12-19.
    we would like to ask if what pass we’re going to use the day we arrive from kansai airport to shinsaibashi station.
    then the following day apilr 13 we would like to go to kyoto
    april 14 nara park
    april 15 kobe
    april 16 osaka city tour
    april 17 osaka city tour
    april 18 osaka city tour
    april 19 from shinsaibashi to kansai airport.

    thank you so much.

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