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

Need help planning your trip to Nara ?

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 nice day! ”

Very Good
2 hours ago Traveler: Lainie -   Tour Guide: Mitsuyuki

We had an enjoyable day with Mitsuyuki. While we were planning our trip, he was very helpful and flexible regarding the itinerary. He was open to suggestions as well as making suggestions himself. His car was very comfortable and he was a smooth driver. He provided water, which was a nice touch. He took us to a lovely restaurant for lunch. All in all, we enjoyed our day with him!
read more

“ Nara and Kyoto ”

Excellent
22 hours ago Traveler: Gwen -   Tour Guide: Masahisa

Super patient man who caters to our large group with old and young. Considerate and thoughtful. Highly rated
read more

“ Beautiful introduction to Japanese history and culture ”

Excellent
1 week ago Traveler: Christopher -   Tour Guide: Richard

Richard's passion for Japan really shines through - you can feel his deep respect for the country and his insight into Japanese history and culture. Our tour took us to truly off-the-beaten paths that even some native Japanese miss out on. Our tour was a very long day (be prepared to walk and travel) but definitely well worth it. And the sake tasting definitely helped. I wholeheartedly recommend R...
read more

“ Unforgetible experience ”

Excellent
1 week ago Traveler: Lana -   Tour Guide: Richard

We spent 4 amazing dates with Richard last month and he took us to some out-of-the-way places and had auténtic food we did not expect to have. He took us way out in the country and we discovered the oldest Shrine in all of Japan, ate Swimming Somen noodles (which we would love to bring back to New York) and just had an amazing time listening to his stories and his understanding of Japanese History...
read more

“ Wonderful day in Nara ”

Excellent
2 weeks ago Traveler: Michael -   Tour Guide: Hiroyuki

Hiroyuki guide us a day in Nara. It was wonderful. So many insights knowledge to thr places we visited. The stories that are not in the guide books or Internet. Thank you for great day!!!
read more

“ Trip to see Hemiji Castle (1) Himeji Castle + Engyoji-temple on Mt. Shoshazan ”

Excellent
3 weeks ago Traveler: Rosa -   Tour Guide: Kenji

We booked trip with Kenji for half a day when our cruise ship arrived in Kobe. I initially asked Kenji for a tour to Nara but at the last minute we decided that we would rather see Himeji Castle. I asked him to change itinerary at the last minute. He was very positive about the change and suggested to go to see additionally Engyoji-temple on Mt. Shoshazan that I did not even know about. Our trip w...
read more

“ Energetic, Informative and Fun ”

Excellent
3 weeks ago Traveler: ERVIN -   Tour Guide: Mimmy(Tomoe)

Had a wonderful tour in Nara. Tomoe took us to all the famous sites one can possibly cover in one day, first on the train from Kyoto, then lots of walking, and finally taxis in Nara as necessary or when I needed to take a break (not to mention to save precious time). Tomoe gave us a wonderful overview of the local history, the Shinto traditions and other important cultural notes. She also pat...
read more

“ Super day in Nara ”

Excellent
3 weeks ago Traveler: Claire -   Tour Guide: Takehiko

Zuni San was very wonderful, patient with me (I am very slow walker with a cane), and took us to see things of much interest with children ages ten and thirteen as well as of interest to adults. His English was grand.
read more

“ An excellent and considerate tourist guide ”

Excellent
3 weeks ago Traveler: Anthony -   Tour Guide: Takehiko

Takehiko san likes to be called “Zumi.” He was recommended very correctly to me by Emi san, a very helpful English-speaking coordinator online at Triplelights. Besides providing the service of a wheelchair accessible van, Zumi san is an excellent tourist guide in all respects. I, being handicapped in one leg and a wheelchair user, was on a long cruise with my girlfriend & 2 friends between October...
read more

“ A day of fun and learning.. ”

Excellent
4 weeks ago Traveler: Susan -   Tour Guide: Hiroshi

Spent all day from Hiroshi in Nara- went to few of the major sites and then some off-the-beaten paths as well as as sake tasting and a nice placer to lunch and lots of sweets ....Every thing was a learning experience and was done with much laughter...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Nara

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