Three Amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites

by Luke - TripleLights travel specialist

Planning a trip and want to check out some of the best sights Japan has to offer? A castle that was the first to be granted the World Heritage honor, a temple that is home to the great Buddha, and a very sacred shrine. Read on for three of the best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan:

Kasuga Taisha

Three Amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

The World Heritage site of Kasuga Taisha (Kasuga Grand Shrine) was established to enshrine the local deity at around the time of the transfer of the capital 1300 years ago. The brilliant vermilion shinden in the primeval forest is magnificent and mysterious.

Kasuga Shrine which is located inside Nara Park has continued on from ancient times with its brilliant red shinden, its beautiful cloisters and an overwhelming impression to its guests. Its red appearance among the lushly green cedar grove at the bottom of Kasugayama Primeval Forest evokes that mystery of a sacred country of the Far East. The gorgeous main building that has also been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site has splendor and grace. It has an appearance as a sacred place that would be appropriate to enshrine a god.  

There are more than 1000 events throughout the year at Kasuga Taisha, but since there are many events that can be generally visited, come and visit according to your schedule. Within those, during the special services known as the Chugen Mantoro held within the cloisters in February and August, 2000 stone lanterns and 1000 hanging lanterns are lit which create a wondrous atmosphere.  

Admission: ¥ 500 

Guidebook from Planetyze about Kasuga Taisha
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Kasuga Taisha
Tours of Kasuga Taisha

Himeji Castle

Three Amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Himeji Castle is famous for having been recognized as a National Treasure and an Important Cultural Property due to its beauty among the numerous castles in Japan and its keep (the largest central structure on the castle grounds) that has retained its appearance from the Edo Era. Having been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it was the first time that Japan had been given this honor. Due to its pure white exterior and the surrounding area where many wild birds resided, it was also called Shirasagi-jo (White Heron Castle). The contrast between the linked castle keep constructed from multiple roof layers and the pure white exterior is exquisite. Also, there is another reason besides its beauty which explains its status as one of the famous castles of Japan. The reason lies in its construction. In the past, a castle’s quality placed great importance on how well the demarcation of the castle grounds were constructed. Himeji Castle possessed a spiral demarcation that was unusual in Japan, and it is said that it had fortifications meant for a high castle such as Edo Castle. The castle which was known as Japan’s most beautiful underwent a major restoration from 2009 to May 2015, and the exterior walls that had been painted in white lime plaster were beautifully reborn over time. Its profile has further increased since its grand opening. By all means, please come to Himeji Castle which has been able to keep its valuable presence while many other historic structures ended up burning down in war.

Admission: Adult: ¥ 1,000 / Child: ¥ 300

Guidebook from Planetyze about Himeji Castle
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Himeji Castle
Tours of Himeji Castle

Todaiji

Three Amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites

People have always loved Todaiji, which was completed in the year 752 and continues to be a religious place down to this day. The essential sights include the buildings that were rebuilt after being destroyed in fires caused by wars, Daibutsu (the great Buddha), masterpieces from the geniuses Unkei and Kaikei, and the statues of the guardian deities.

Todaiji is a cultural property in Nara that is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. It is home to countless works of art and structures that are designated National Treasures, and is full of objects of extremely significant cultural value. Here, you will experience the dynamic atmosphere of a history spanning the ages in such objects as the main temple building, which houses Japan’s largest temple, and Daibutsu (the great Buddha statue).

At a height of 8.4 meters, the huge wooden images of guardian deities (National Treasures) flanking Nandaimon on both sides are not to be missed. Records show that these figures were made by the genius Buddhist image sculptors Unkei and Kaikei and their 13 disciples in just 69 days during the Kamakura period in the year 1208. These vivid and powerful statues stand magnificently, captured in a moment with their clothes fluttering in the wind. They have an incredible realism so that even their blood vessels can be seen. The image of the powerful Rikishi is a masterpiece of art from the middle of the Kamakura period.

Admission: Adult: ¥ 500 / Child: ¥ 300

Guidebook from Planetyze about Todaiji
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Todaiji
Tours of Todaiji

Did you like my article?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Nara, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Nara


06 Jul 2015

Plan your trip to Nara

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Nara

“ A day in Nara ”

Excellent
16 hours ago Traveler: LUCIA -   Tour Guide: Hiroyuki

Hiroyuki has a very friendly way of explaining concepts and telling stories. His spoken English is excellent... I think better than mine! If you spend a day with him you can get better knowledge, deeper understanding of what you see but also a lot of fun. I do regret not having spent more days with Hiroyuki in the beautiful Nara.
read more

“ Family Trip to Tokyo (day trip to Hanoke)_-Kyoto-Osaka (day trip to Nara) ”

Excellent
1 week ago Traveler: Patrick -   Tour Guide: SHIN

Shin has been nothing but self-less, helpful, and generous with his time and efforts during his time as our guide. He went above and beyond all our expectations to meet what we had envisioned as a "perfect" trip to Japan. By the end of the trip, we felt like Shin was family to us. He took us to some wonderful locations and shared some of Japan's greatest experiences with us, making priceless memor...
read more

“ nice time in Kyoto and Nara ”

Excellent
1 week ago Traveler: Tanja -   Tour Guide: Kaori

We had two phantastic days with Kaori in Kyoto and Nara. In very short time (as our time was limited) she showed as the must-have-seen places while considering the extreme August temperatures, so that we did the outside walkings in the early day and visited the cooling inside places in the hot afternoon. It was not only a highly informatory sight-seeing by her side but also lots of fun. Kaori is a...
read more

“ Nara and Osaka ”

Excellent
3 weeks ago Traveler: Flaviana -   Tour Guide: Kaori

We spent 2 days with Kaori. The first day in Nara and the second in Osaka. We liked both destinations. She was very nice, interesting and available to satisfy every your request. We also had dinner in a Japanese restaurant. It was very funny! Thanks Kaori for all!!! We hope to come back soon so we can go to Kyoto together.
read more

“ Nara, one day ”

Excellent
4 weeks ago Traveler: Lisa -   Tour Guide: Kaori

Kaori met us at the Nara train station as we were staying in Kyoto. She was very agreeable to meeting a bit later in the morning so we would not have to take an early train. We really appreciated this flexibility. She was equipped with a folder of helpful information: map of Nara with the things we were interested in marked; any information she might need to help us get around; an information shee...
read more

“ Wonderful. ”

Excellent
1 month ago Traveler: Kim -   Tour Guide: Mari

Mari was a super guide with excellent English who had a very rounded knowledge on all the sites we saw and who gave insightful explanations to all of our question. The plan presented to us for the day was thorough and included all of our resqests. Marie was a pleasure to be with and made our day a wonderful experience, we can only highly recommend her. Thank you again Mari. Kim and Ben.
read more

“ Highly knowledgeable and exceptionally accomodating ”

Excellent
1 month ago Traveler: Rosslyn -   Tour Guide: Hiroshi

Hiroshi was one of the best tour guides I've ever had the pleasure of being around. He made the tour very enjoyable and even explained the history of it all as the tour progressed. He made my son and I feel like Japan was our second home. Arigato gozaimasu!!
read more

“ A great four days in Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Osaka ”

Excellent
1 month ago Traveler: Jeremy -   Tour Guide: Hiroyuki

My wife, daughter and I spent a hugely enjoyable four days with Hiro touring Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Osaka. Hiro was an excellent guide. He provided very thorough knowledge of the history of each place, took us to lunch in really authentic Japanese restaurants (including great value Kobe Beef), was flexible with our itinerary, gave us tips on shops for specific items and kept in contact via email to...
read more

“ Vail family vacation ”

Excellent
1 month ago Traveler: Maribeth -   Tour Guide: Yoshihisa

Yoshi was a great tour guide we asked at the last minute to modify our tour which he did without issue he was very easy to get along with and we enjoyed everything we saw loved the saki brewery
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Nara

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started