ViaHero · November 12, 2018
Going to Nara, one of Japan’s most ancient
Want to explore Japan differently? Have a local
Not only is Nara easily accessible from hubs like Kyoto and Osaka
#1: Crawl through Buddha’s nostril in Todaiji Daibutsuden
Built over a thousand years ago, Todai-
#2: Pet tame deer at Nara-
#3: Help set flame to Mount Wakakusa
Looming behind Todaiji, Mount Wakakusa is perfect for short hikes and yearly ceremonial wildfires. In the ancient festival of Wakakusa Yamayaki, everyone sets fire to
#4: Wander the fairytale garden of Yoshiki-en
A hop, skip and jump from Todaiji, the Yoshiki-en gardens are a little slice of heaven. With a petite moss garden, pond garden, and tea ceremony garden, Yoshiki-en is the prime spot for experiencing Japan’s beautiful seasons. Also perfect for doing Japan on a budget, Yoshiki-en is totally free for foreigners—ask a Hero about other free spots like this to save your yen!
#5: Devour the life-changing Mahoroba Daibutsu pudding
At Mahoroba Daibutsu, the proof is literally in the pudding. An ancient Nara specialty, this pudding (
#6: Contemplate enlightenment at Yakushiji Temple
With its elegant twin pagodas, Yakushiji Temple is one of Nara’s Seven Great Temples and the seat of Hosso Buddhism. Built by Emperor Temmu to pray for his Empress (what men won’t do for their ladies,
#7: Walk Kasuga-
taisha’s lantern-lit pathways
Known for its bright orange gates and mysterious forest, Kasuga-
#8: Return to the dawn of Japan at Horyuji Temple
Literally named “Learning Temple of the Flourishing Law,” Horyuji Temple is one of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples and the world’s oldest wooden building, making it a top must-do in Japan spot. Ask a Hero about Horyuji’s renovations schedules so you have unobstructed photo ops.
#9: Explore the mysterious kofun tombs
Japanese mega-tombs shaped like keyholes that haven’t been explored for centuries? Sounds like a recipe for ghosts, all right! An absolute must-do in Japan, these mega-tombs (kofun) are often surrounded by massive moats and house the remains of Japan’s ruling families almost 2,000 years ago. Experience the mystery for yourself, and enter if you dare.
#10: Trek the forest paths of Mount Kasuga
Mount Kasuga’s Primeval Forest has to be one of the world’s most peaceful places—after all, hunting hasn’t been allowed here for over 1,000 years. Japan’s wildlife roams free among moss-covered trees and stone Buddhas. Of all the places to go in Japan, the Primeval Forest is a must simply for the ways it soothes your soul.
Don’t fall prey to FOMO—hop on board a bullet train, and get to Nara ASAP! Personalize your Japanese adventure with insider travel info, then check out some of these Japan travel tips before boarding your flight: