17 Jan 2014

NARA2 Image Source: http://www.travelreportage.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/NARA2.jpg



If you’re visiting Kyoto during your trip to Japan, we also highly recommended that you check out the former capital of Japan, Nara. Due to rather relative small size of Nara, you should be able to see most of the main attractions within a day. The city is accessible with both Japan Railways (JR) and Kintetsu Railways from the main Kyoto Station.

Todaiji Temple



todaiji_daibutsu Image Source:http://www.taleofgenji.org/images/todaiji_daibutsu.jpg

The most famous landmark in Nara is Todaiji Temple, a large temple that houses a large bronze Daibutsu, or statue of Buddha. This temple was built in 752 and in just thirty years, it grew so powerful that the capital (which was at the time Nara) was moved to Nagaoka in 784 to diminish both the temple and the strong influenced of Buddhism strong in government affairs. The main hall of Todaiji, known as Big Buddha Hall, is the world's largest wooden building and even more incredible is the fact that after its reconstruction in 1692, it was only two thirds of the original size of the edifice.

Hours:
8:00 to 16:30 (November to February)
8:00 to 17:00 (March)
7:30 to 17:30 (April to September)
7:30 to 17:00 (October)

Admission:500 yen

Access: Todaiji is located north of Nara Park and  is a 30-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station or a 45-minute walk from JR Nara Station. You can take the bus from either station to reach the temple as well.

Map:

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Nara Park



Nara_Deer_11 Image Source:http://www.digitaljournal.com/img/6/8/7/0/1/4/i/1/3/5/p-large/Nara_Deer_11.JPG

If you start walking in the direction of Central Nara towards Nara Park, you'll likely start to take notice of free roaming deer, even near the grounds near of Todaiji Temple. When people talk about Nara, they're likely to speak of these deer: they have become a symbol of the city and a treasure nationwide. In Shintoism, they're considered as messengers of God. You can feed them crackers, which are sold in and around the park.

Access: 5 minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station or 20 minute walk from JR Nara.

Map:

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Nara National Museum



4109_01 Image Source:http://www.japan-guide.com/g2/4109_01.jpg

Buddhism has played a large part in the history of Nara, so it is no surprise that the Nara National Museum (in Nara Park) collects and displays primarily Buddhist art. There are two wings that showcase Buddhist artifacts, such as statues and scrolls and one of the wings is reserved for temporary exhibitions. There are English signs throughout the museum.

Access: The National Museum is located in Nara Park. It is a 15 minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station or 30 minute walk from JR Nara Station.

Hours: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm (admission ends 30 minutes before closing time)

Closing dates: Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday)

Admission: 500 yen

Map:

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Naramachi (Nara Town)



naramachiImage Source:http://www.eonet.ne.jp/~naramachiwalk/images/naramachi.gif

A visit to Naramachi (Nara Town), the former merchant town of Nara, will give you a feel for old-world Japan. A few of the warehouses and residences have been preserved in the district's narrow roads and are open for viewing by the public. The lanes are also dotted with newly constructed restaurants, cafés and museums for tourists to take a rest. An interesting historical fact about these merchant houses, or machiya, is that they were kept narrow in size to cut down on tax costs, which were calculate based on the property's street access as opposed to the total area of the residence.

Access: Naramachi is a 15-minute walk south from Kintentsu Nara Station or a 20-minute walk southeast from JR Nara Station.

Map:

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