What to do in Nara in a day? 奈良
Une ville à visiter près de Kyoto pour une journée
Passez une journée à Nara pour découvrir l'endroit où les arts, l’architecture et la religion bouddhiste prirent leur essor.
Less known than its neighbor Kyoto, which is only 42 km away, Nara has nothing to envy. Most of its buildings are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and some of its 36 temples are among the oldest in the archipelago.
Less urban and extensive than Kyoto, you can visit Nara in a day from Kyoto by walking through its huge park or by wandering off into its surrounding countryside. Whether you are getting there from Kyoto or Osaka (30 km away), it will take you less than an hour to drive and you can be there when the venues open, before the crowds.
The main places of attraction being concentrated around the Kintetsu-Nara station, the visit is airy and green thanks to its immense park, the Nara Koen dotted with temples and other historical monuments and inhabited by about a thousand not very shy deer.
- Read also: Nara Park
The most beautiful architectural works of Nara
You can start the day with a visit to Kofukuji Temple, located not far from Kintetsu-Nara Station. First built in 669 in Kyoto by the powerful Fujiwara clan, it was transposed to Nara in 710. At its peak, the temple grounds contained more than a hundred buildings. Today, its five-story pagoda has become the city's landmark, and its reflection in the waters of Sarusawa Pond is a photographer's delight. The ensemble includes the House of the National Treasure, which houses magnificent Buddhist statues.
Art lovers can indulge their passion at the Nara National Museum which features an impressive collection of Buddhist art, theater masks and porcelain. Northeast of the museum, the tour continues with the most visited and monumental building in the city: the imposing Todaiji temple of the Kegon sect.
Passing the Nandaimon gate (12th century), 29m high, we immediately take in the measure of this disproportionate architectural ensemble! Although rebuilt in 1692, the temple's main Daibutsu-den pavilion is the largest wooden construction in the world. It houses the largest Buddha statue in Japan: 450 tons of bronze and gold for 15 meters in height.
Going back down to the south of the park, you will discover the Kasuga Taishai Shinto shrine. Its path of stone lanterns followed by bronze lanterns suspended from the eaves, its vermilion buildings standing out against the green of the surrounding nature make it a very photogenic place.
Take the time to stroll in the park among the deer chasing you to grab a little cookie. They are considered in Nara as the messengers of the gods.
Tours near Nara
Even further south, explore Japan's first Buddhist temple, Gangoji. It will be time to take a break in one of the restaurants or cafes in the alleys of the old shopping district, Naramachi. This is also where you can shop for souvenirs or handicrafts.
If you have time and energy, take a bus (45-minute ride) from Kintetsu-Nara Station to Horyuji Temple or a train from JR Nara Station on the Yamatoji Line to JR Nara Station. Horyuji (12 minutes). Horyuji, built in 607 and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is part of a group of Buddhist buildings constituting the oldest wooden structure in the world. You can spend the rest of the day there in peace before heading to Nara.
- Also discover Nara in video:
Address, timetable & access
NaraHoryuji: 1-1 Horyuji Sannai, Ikaruga, Ikoma District
PriceKofuku-ji: 600 yen Nara National Museum: 600 yen. Todai-ji: 500 yen for the Daibutsuden and 500 yen for the museum alone. Ticket combining the museum and the Daibutsuden for 800 yen. Kasuga Taishai: 500 yen for the main shrine. Gango-ji: 500 yen Horyuji: 1000 yen
AccessKofuku-ji: every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note: the temple will close for one year from January 1, 2017. Nara National Museum: daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Todai-ji: open daily 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Kasuga Taishai: open daily 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. in winter and 6 p.m. in summer Gango-ji: open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Horyuji : 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (4:30 p.m. November to February)