Attraction Highlights – Nara Park

Teams

30/09/2021

  • At the foot of Mt. Wakakusa is Nara Park, a home to world heritage treasures and wild-roaming deer- a place where it balances both the culture and nature.

    At the foot of Mt. Wakakusa is Nara Park, a home to world heritage treasures and wild-roaming deer- a place where it balances both the culture and nature.

    Astonishing Architectural Feats

    The area around Nara Park is known for its incredible cultural heritage. One of them is the Tōdai-ji or also known as Great Eastern Temple. Constructed in 752 B.C. as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan, it is the world's largest wooden structure and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Inside is an awe-spiring view of its 15m high Buddha-- the most prestigious of Nara's seven great temples. This is the largest bronze statue of Buddha in the world and weighs an estimated 300 tons.

    Comparably impressive is the 50-meter-tall pagoda at the neighboring Kōfuku-ji. This majestic construction is the second tallest five-story pagoda in Japan and was once owned by the most powerful aristocratic clan during much of the Nara and Heian Periods.

    Instituted in Nara at the same time as the capital in 710, the temple features several buildings of great historic value. Furthermore, this museum is a must for Buddha statue lovers as each figure was laboriously carved from a single piece of wood, all boasting with impressive and original sight.

    Meanwhile, the nearby Kasuga Taisha, Nara’s most celebrated Shinto shrine is a place dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of the city. A solemn and peaceful atmosphere fills the entire precinct as it balances both the natural and cultural elements of the area.

    It is also famous for its lanterns which have been donated by worshipers and is only being lit twice a year during Lantern Festivals-- the Setsuban Mantoro held in early February and Chugen Mantoro celebrated in mid-August.

    A quick walk away from the shrine is the Nara National Museum that is prominent for its unrivaled collection of Nara Period.

    Established in 1889, the museum primarily displays Japanese Buddhist art which includes Buddhist statues, paintings, scrolls, and ceremonial objects.

    One With Nature

    Nara Park is a refuge to over 1000 sika deer roaming freely around the area. Considered as the messengers of the gods, they are the symbols of the city and have even been designated as a natural treasure.

    The deer, wild and out in the open park are famous for their tame behavior and learned to bow for treats. Feeding them is an attraction itself and special crackers are on sale all around the park.

    And when you need a break from sightseeing and craving for untouched nature to hug you, explore one of the trails of Mt. Kasuga Primeval Forest, a sacred woodland that received the World Heritage status.

    Untarnished for thousands of years, this Forest stretches out across an area of around half a kilometer, behind Kasuga Taisha Shrine. With logging and hunting prohibited since AD 841, this is a rare ecosystem with over 175 types of trees, wild animals, rare birds, and insects.

    How To Get to Nara Park

    The Nara Park can be reached easily from most major cities.

    From Osaka, take the Yamatoji Line from either JR Osaka Station or Tennoji Station to JR Nara Station. The trip takes 30 to 45 minutes one-way, depending on the departing station.

    From Kyoto, take the JR Nara Line from Kyoto Station to JR Nara Station. Miyakoji rapid trains depart every 30 minutes, and the trip takes about 45 minutes one-way.

    From Tokyo, take the Tokaido Shinkansen Line to Kyoto Station. From there, take the JR Nara Line to JR Nara Station.