Deer park, Todaiji Temple, Nara
Kasuga Shrine, Nara
Buddha statue, Todaiji Temple, Nara

About Nara

Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan, 40km from Kyoto.

The city was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784, lending its name to the Nara period. This preceded the Heian period 794-1869 when the nation’s capital was Kyoto.

“Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”, is designated at UNESCO World Heritage Site. This includes eight temples, shrines and ruins in the town, specifically Tōdai-ji, Saidai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangō-ji, Yakushi-ji, Tōshōdai-ji and the Heijō Palace remains, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest.

  • Todaiji and other temples
  • Isuien Garden
  • Nara Park
  • Naramachi, a former merchant district
  • National Museum

According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, a mythological god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Since then the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country. Tame deer roam through the town, especially in Nara Park. Snack vendors sell “shika sembei” (deer biscuits) to visitors so they can enjoy feeding the deer. Some of the deer have learned to bow in response to tourists’ bows.

Practical information:

  • From Kyoto to Nara by train (50 min)
  • From Osaka Kintetsu Namba to Kintetsu Nara Station by Kintetsu Nara trains (35 min)
  • JTB Sunrise tours operates daily excursions to Nara from Kyoto and Osaka with English-speaking guide
  • on our Google map


Our packages includes Nara

Himeji castle

Contrasts of Japan (9 days)

From £ 1,945 p/person
This 9-day tour visits the highlights of Japan on a guided coach tour. See Tokyo, Mt.Fuji, Kawaguchiko, Nagoya, Kyoto and Hiroshima, ending in Hiroshima or Tokyo. This is a GROUP tour with regular departures until March 2019.


Essential Japan (7 days)

From £ 1,485 p/person
See Japan by coach! This 7-day tour visits the highlights of Japan on a guided coach tour – a unique and exciting new concept. See Tokyo, Mt.Fuji, Kawaguchiko, Nagoya and Kyoto, ending in Osaka. This is a GROUP tour with regular departures until March 2019.

Nakasendo Trail

The Nakasendo Trail

The Nakasendo way linked Kyoto to Tokyo during Japan’s feudal period. It was the ‘road through the mountains’ travelled by feudal lords and their retinues, samurai, merchants and travellers. From Tokyo, spend four days walking along the Nakasendo. By day travel along the ancient route as it passes through beautifully-preserved villages along an easy path, […]



Experience the tradition of the Kumano Kodo – the pilgrims’ path to the Kumano Shrine through the woods and hills of the Kii Peninsula, south of Kyoto.
For over 1,000 years, people from all levels of society, including retired emperors and aristocrats, have made the arduous pilgrimage to Kumano. These pilgrims used a network of […]

Tokyo by night


Honshu is the largest island of Japan, and the country-wide Japan Rail Pass allows you to explore all the cities and regions at your own pace.
Our itinerary suggestion includes travelling down from Tokyo using the newly-opened HOKURIKU SHINKANSEN line to Kanazawa and on to the historic city of Kyoto. The package includes the 7-day Rail […]

Buddha statue, Todaiji Temple, Nara

Nara Afternoon tour

Take an afternoon excursion from Kyoto to visit historic Nara, which was Japan’s capital 710 – 784 AD (known as the Nara period). Many imposing buildings originally erected in that era are preserved. Todaiji Temple, one the world’s largest wooden structures, houses the great Buddha statue in bronze, nearly 15 metres high. Then on to […]

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