Nara is a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of great shrines and temples, not far from Kyoto and Osaka.  A must-visit for most travelers coming to Japan, Nara has a large park where most of the action is, while there are a few more shrines and temples a short bicycle or bus ride away.

Budget travel tips

  • Be sure to pick up the Nara Sightseeing Map from the Tourist Information Office or your hostel.
  • The main area to the east (Nara Park) can all be done on foot.  It’s quite hilly and crowded, so bicycles may not be so useful.

Places of interest – Nara Park

Todaiji Temple

The main temple in Nara. It features a huge Buddha statue inside, plus a column you can walk through for good luck! Don’t miss it.

Open: Usually around 8:00 to 19:00

Cost: 500 yen

Deer Spots (FREE)

Check out our map below for the best places to see deer.  You really don’t have to worry though, as you will definitely see some around Nara!

Kasuga Taisha Shrine

The main Shinto shrine in Nara.  Leave plenty of time to explore this fascinating, vast complex.

Open: 6:00 to 18:00 (summer), 6:30 to 17:00 (winter)

Price: 500 yen

Kofukuji Temple

A lovely temple right next to Kintetsu Nara station.  The three story pagoda is in this area as well.

Open: 9:00 to 17:00

Price: Adults 600 yen, Children 500 yen

Nara National Museum

Not an essential visit, but check this out if you want to know a little more about the area.  Nara National Museum has a large selection of exhibits about the history and culture of Nara.

Open: 9:00 to 17:00

Price: Adults 600 yen, Children 500 yen

Places of interest – Downtown

Sanjodori Street

Come here for your evening meal and some touristy treats.

Naramachi Street

Loads of interesting shops and restaurants.  Best In the afternoon. Walk down Sanjodori Street, then go down the road beginning with the Circle K convenience store.

How to get there

From Tokyo, get a bus with Willer Express (click link at the top for English) or use the Japan Bus Pass.  If you have the Japan Rail Passtake the Shinkansen (JR bullet train) to Kyoto station.

From Kyoto station, take the JR Nara Line (JR line) to Nara (44 mins, 690 yen).

From Osaka,  take the Kintetsu Nara Line (private line) from Osaka-Nanba station (within Nanba subway station) to Nara station (36 mins, 540 yen).

Recommended Hostels and Cheap Hotels

Guesthouse Naramachi

You will soon realize why they have a 91% rating. Really helpful staff, cheap bike rental and inexpensive rooms. Check prices at

Guesthouse Nara Komachi

Another excellent hostel.  This one is a bit more modern than the others and has a variety of rooms. Check prices at

More at


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Published by Matthew Baxter

Japan travel writer and onsen addict