If you are planning to travel to the lovely country of Japan, Nara has probably the most noteworthy sights in all of Japan, and because of its past as the principal perpetual capital, it stays abundant with memorable fortunes.
As there are numerous sanctuaries and sanctums to visit in Nara, you may be stressed you would not have the capacity to see them all on your trip. That is not the situation however! Nara has this astounding favorable position of having every one of the attractions assembled together in one immense stop, and walking around one sanctuary to another is extraordinarily lovely.
All About Nara Japan and the Nara Deers
Nara was in truth chosen as Japan's first perpetual capital in 710 A.D. and was viewed as the hub of Japanese culture and expressions, with a remarkable plenitude of sanctuaries and Buddhist religious communities. Notwithstanding, soon the cloisters in Nara started to pick up a great deal of political impact, which appeared to annoy the ruler and the nearby government officials, thus the Japanese capital was moved.
Aside from all the historic sites that can be found in Nara, this place is also famous for its deer. The story about the Nara deer is rather a long one but very interesting. The animals have been meandering around the city for a very long time, centuries even. As per the incredible history of Kasuga Shrine, a fanciful god Takemikazuchi touched base in Nara on a white deer to watch the recently assembled capital of Heijō-kyō. Since then, the deer have been roaming around as protectors of Nara and its inhabitants.
The Nara Period
The Nara Period of the History of Japan covers the years from around 710 to 784 CE. The Empress Gemmei set up the capital at Nara, otherwise called Heijo kyo, where it remained the capital of Japanese development until the Emperor Kammu set up the new capital at Nagaoka.
Chinese dialect and writing were taken very seriously. The Chinese characters were adjusted to the Japanese dialect and various Chinese compositions, especially Buddhist sacred texts, were replicated. The Chinese idea of the sovereign as the incomparable image of focal government control was consolidated into the local Japanese translation of the ruler as likewise the main Shintō faction figure. In addition, artistic creations and figures amid the period are inspired by the style of the contemporary T'ang administration.
A large portion of Japanese society amid this period was agrarian in nature, revolved around towns. The greater part of the villagers took after the Shintō religion, based around the love of normal and tribal spirits also known as kami.
Must See in Nara: Nara Deer Park
The majority of the historic attraction in Nara lie can be found the in Nara Park, which spans over 500 hectares. It is a great area with numerous chronicled structures assigned as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO and perfectly orchestrated with nature. The recreation center has almost 2,000 cherry trees of different sorts, including Narayae-zakura and Kokonoe-zakura.
Nara Park is the place the where fun begins! As you may know, the city of Nara is where the deer are free-meandering, cheerful, and, exceptionally copious. There are around 1,200 wild sika deer that roam around Nara Park, an open park in the city of Nara. You do not need to walk very far before encountering a deer in this area. Typically the deer are found huddled in groups in the shade of the large trees just waiting for tourists to approach them with treats. There is nothing more fun than witnessing a deer eat down on a treat straight from your hand. You can get the treats on the street before entering Nara Park for only 150 yen. Most of the deer in Nara Park are used to the sight of a tourist and thus associate humans with food. They will idly wait by the shade until they see a person with a bag of treats in their hands before standing up and approaching. It is the younger deer that are, more often than not, shy and would hesitate an approaching person. Generally these deer will not hurt people as long as the tourists behave and respect them.
Don’t worry, the deer are in Nara Park all year round so there is not a really certain season when you can visit them. But arguably the best time to visit Nara Park is during Cherry Blossom season! Nothing beats an amazing surrounding while playing with the deers! It is also really beautiful when you capture photos of your trip.
Nara’s Well Known Sushi Restaurants and Cafes
Nara is not just for the history buff or the deer lover, it is also the place for food lovers!
Maguro Koya - A simple yet very authentic experience of local Japanese food! One must not leave this place without trying the tuna! It is the best! It is simply delicious. The specialities of this place are altogether produced using tuna fish: honmaguro toro , maguro, and chuutoro are just a portion of the incredible dishes of Maguro Koya. This restaurant is also conveniently located near Nara Park by the exit of Kintetsu station. So after you feed all the deer it is best to feed yourself next with all the delicious Japanese cuisines this restaurant has to offer. Everything is served fresh as well. Do not let this tiny place fool you. It is definitely one of the best restaurants in Nara.
Daiki Suisan Conveyor Belt Sushi Nara - Not only does Daiki Suisan handle the production and selling of sushi to its customers in all its Kaitenzushi chains but also the fishing. This is to make sure that each customer gets fresh sushi at a very affordable price. Daiki Suisan offers sushi at a value scope of 108 yen to around 1,000 yen for every plate of sushi short assessment. Not terrible for somebody who is going on a tight budget plan. This place is certainly a sushi roll heaven!
Mellow Cafe - Mellow Cafe is an awesome place to stay when you want to rest from all the temple hoping. This cafe boasts not only of magnificent food but as well as awesome staff. Truly pleasant environment and astounding pizza with a genuine brick oven. If you are searching for a break from Japanese nourishment this is the place to be!
Coffee beans ROCOCO & ROKUMEI COFFEE CO. - Make it your central goal to attempt and avoid the typical chains and get great coffee. Rococo will certainly not disappoint. They serve single grain espresso measured to perfection, with awesome tasting notes. The cafe also serves yummy lunch sets and cakes.
Five Best Nara Hotels
There is one awesome tip in finding a place to stay that is a fairly an irregular method although it is very practical. Begin your hunt in Google Maps, then search for a bed symbol inside the zone where the attractions you would most want to visit are situated. With this strategy one can have a general understanding of the layout of the region; what is the closest train station, restaurants, temples, shopping districts, and so on. One can also check if the accommodation has a site that has the option to be viewed in English or other languages. Google also allows for customer reviews of any establishments which allows one to make an informed decision on accomodation.
Below are the top five hotels that can be found in Google Maps:
- Hotel Nikko Nara - Hotel Nikko Nara is a 4 star hotel part of the Japanese Airlines (JAL) group. This hotel is not exactly right in the center of Nara but do not fret because this hotel is right beside the JR train station, which is a huge plus! Not to mention that Hotel Nikko Naral is very near the Kifoku-ji temple, Nara Park, and the Nara National Museum. Hotel Nikko Nara has over 300 rooms, 4 restaurants, karaoke rooms, common bath, very fast free Wi-Fi, and a tea room. This place is really worth the extra splurge!
- Nara Hotel - If you are into history then Nara Hotel is the perfect hotel for you. Built in 1909, this classic hotel housed notable individual throughout the years including the Japanese Royal families. Aside from the excellent staff spacious bedrooms that include balconies, Nara Hotel is within short distance from sightseeing and food spots that are must visits for tourists. Staying in this hotel itself is very special. In fact, the hotel in itself is already a trip! You might even be lucky and have a deer drop by your balcony. Nara Hotel truly is a historical hotel!
- Super Hotel Lohas JR Nara-eki - Another great hotel in Nara is Super Hotel LohasJR Nara-eki. This hotel is near the JR station, which is your main mode of transport in going around Nara so this is a superb location! Plus, there is a very good supermarket in the station near the hotel. And the hotel is also near several tourists spots in Nara. In addition, the staff in this hotel speaks fluent english which makes it very convenient for tourists.
- Asukasou Traditional Japanese Style Inn - Asukasou is a ryokan type of accommodation within walking distance Kofuku-ji Shrine. For those of you who are not acquainted with ryokans, they are conventional Japanese hotels that are normally family run. Here you get the chance to encounter conventional Japanese way of life joined by the best Japanese welcome. Asukasou is 10 minute from the Kintetsu train station and is also located near Nara Park where the deers hangout. This ryokan features rave reviews with its excellent service and food!
- Hotel New Wakasa - Hotel New Wakasa is just a 5 minute walk from the Todaji Temple and the Great Buddha. Hotel New Wakasa is the perfect place to stay. It is stones throws away to all the attractions worth going to, purchasing and eating and the staff are so inviting and supportive they make a special effort to offer assistance. This hotel is not your typical hotel. It is kind of a hybrid of traditional ryokans and modern hotels.
Check in time in Japan is usually at the hour of 3PM and check out is at 12 noon.
Be Ready for the Weather in Nara
Nara has a muggy subtropical weather that is gentle with no dry season, always wet with year-round rainfall. Summers are hot and damp with electrical storms. While, winters are mellow. The average monthly temperature in Nara is 23 degrees Celsius.
- Winter: day temperatures reach 9.3 degrees Celsius and 0 degree at night
- Spring: day temperatures reach 16.6 degrees Celsius and 7 degrees at night
- Summer: day temperatures reach as high as 29.7 degrees Celsius and 20.3 degrees at night
- Autumn & Fall: day temperatures drop at 21.8 degrees Celsius and 11.8 degrees at night
Don’t forget to always bring lip balm with you to protect you on windy days.
How to Get to Other Parts of Japan
Japan is one of the countries to be known to have the best public transport service in the world whether it is by air, land, or sea. Thus, it will not be hard for you to get to other parts of Japan of Nara City.
You have several options to access Kyoto and Osaka from Nara. You may choose between using the Japan Railways (JR) or the Kintetsu Railways. To get to Tokyo from Nara, you may take a flight from Osaka, you may opt to take the bullet train, or the night bus. It is really up to you but all modes of transport are great.