Nara City Tour
Set off from the hotel with a local guide, hitting the streets of this charming city in the morning to make the most of the day. Start with a visit to Isui Garden, one of Nara’s most beautiful gardens. Stroll around the immaculate grounds, admiring views of Mt. Wakakusayama in the background while hearing about the city’s history. Relax and enjoy a cup of tea and some local sweets at a teahouse set amid the garden.
Then walk onwards to Todaiji Temple, Nara’s landmark. The guide will explain the history of this 8th century monument which was built to serve as the country’s head Buddhist temple. Walk through the temple compound to enter Daibutsu-den building, the largest wooden building in the world, and admire the 15-metre tall Buddha image found inside.
Continue to Nara Park, where friendly deer casually graze, followed by a stroll through Nara’s backstreets. Pass local shops and traditional houses, gaining a better appreciation for the blend of old and new that defines so many towns in Japan.
Arrive at Kasuga Taisha, Nara’s most sacred Shinto shrine. See the shrine’s famous bronze and stone lanterns that hang from the roof, donated to the shrine by its devotees. Although only lit during lantern festivals in February and August, they are still an impressive site.
Before departing Nara, take a walk through the Naramachi district. The streets of this former merchant neighbourhood are filled with restaurants, cafes, boutique stores and traditional inns. Many of the shopfronts are built in the traditional machiya style, which helps provide the district its unique atmosphere.
Wrap up the Nara day trip with a transfer to the train station, hopping on board for the return journey to Osaka or Kyoto.