Best Things To Do in Nara, Japan

Are you looking for what to do in Nara?

You might have a list of things to do in Nara and the places where you want to spend the best moments of your trip. Places like Todai Ji and Nara Park will make sure your dream destinations are ticked off. At the same time, the city offers you the best neighborhoods to explore and new foods to try.

With so many world-famous sites and attractions to visit, deciding on the best things to do in Nara can be a daunting task. Visiting selective places and carrying the best memories is the best alternative. Don’t rush to see all of the attractions in Nara on your first trip itself.

Nara is the type of city that you will love to visit again and again. Every time you revisit Nara you can keep unfolding the different sides of it. This list should help you in deciding and prioritizing what you should plan on your Nara getaway. Find a mix of must-see tourist spots, underrated local hangouts, and maybe even a few new experiences you can try out.

Make the most of your trip to Nara with confidence.

Tourist Attractions in Nara

Here is the list of things to do in Nara and tourist attractions in city.

  1. Todai Ji

    4.6 (1880 Votes)
    Todai Ji

    Religious Site, Temple, Outdoors, Educational Site

    The Todai ji is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples. It is a landmark in Nara. The temple was constructed in the year 752 as the chief temple in the Kokubun-ji system (head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan). Having a rough history, the temple was burnt down and faced earthquakes a lot many times. The present construction that ...Read more
  2. Nara Park

    4.5 (1961 Votes)
    Nara Park

    Outdoors, Garden, Park, Educational Site

    Established in the year 1880, Nara Park is located at the centre of the city of Nara. It extends about 4 kilometres from east to west and around 2 kilometres from south to north. The park is home to around 1200 deer that roam around freely on the grounds. Within the park premises lie the Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine and many other historic structures. Small streams and ponds add charm ...Read more
  3. Kofuku Ji

    4.4 (892 Votes)
    Kofuku Ji

    Religious Site, Temple, Outdoors, Educational Site

    Kofuku ji is one of the head temples of the Hosso sect of Buddhism. The temple was established in Nara in the year 710. At the height of Fujiwara power, the temple consisted of over 150 buildings! Today a couple of buildings still remain and hold great historic value. These buildings are the five story pagoda and the three story pagoda that one sees in the temple premises. At 50 meters, the fiv...Read more
  4. Toshodai Ji

    4.4 (3249 Votes)
    Toshodai Ji

    Religious Site, Temple, Outdoors, Educational Site

    Toshodai ji temple was founded in the year 759 by Ganjin, a Chinese priest who was invited to Japan by the emperor. He was invited to Japan in order to train the priests and improve Japanese Buddhism. The name of the temple was derived from the facts that Ganjin was from Toh, China and that it was founded as a place for Buddhist training under his guidance. Toshodai ji is regarded as the head t...Read more
  5. Yakushi Ji

    4.3 (3310 Votes)
    Yakushi Ji

    Art And Culture, Religious Site, Temple, Outdoors

    The Yakushi Ji temple was established by Emperor Temmu in the year 680 to pray for the recovery of his Empress Jito from a serious illness. The temple was actually constructed by the recovered empress, who outlived the emperor. The construction of Yakushi ji was completed in the year 698 and it was moved to its present location in 718, after the capital was moved to Nara in 710. The t...Read more
  6. Nara National Museum

    4.2 (887 Votes)
    Nara National Museum

    Art And Culture, Museum, Observatory, Educational Site

    The Nara National Museum is located in Nara Park and is an art museum which primarily displays Japanese Buddhist art. It was established in the year 1889 and still retains its original building. Later, a new wing was constructed and was connected to the original building by an underground passage. The museum's permanent collection includes Buddhist statues, paintings, scrolls and ceremonial obj...Read more
  7. Sarusawa-ike
    Sarusawa-ike is an artificial pond situated near Kofuku ji temple. One of the most photographed site is the reflection of the five storied pagoda in the pond. The Sarusawa-ike is 360 metres in circumference and was created in the year 749. After the hustle and bustle of the prime sites in Nara, head over to the pond for some quite time. There are benches around the pond where one can have a pea...Read more
  8. Isuien Garden

    4.3 (937 Votes)
    Isuien Garden

    Outdoors, Entertainment, Leisure, Lake

    Isuien Garden is a beautiful, traditional Japanese-style garden. The name Isuien means ‘garden founded on water’. This name is based on the fact that its ponds are watered by the nearby Yoshikigawa River. Isuien is divided into two parts, a front garden and a rear garden, with a number of tea houses scattered throughout its premises. The garden is a perfect blend of nature and manma...Read more
  9. Naramachi Koshino Le

    Outdoors, Landmark, Educational Site, Architecture

    Naramachi (meaning Nara town) is the former merchant district of Nara. Here, you will find many traditional residential buildings and warehouses that have been preserved as is. A famous one is the Koshino Le. It was the residence of a former merchant and is now open to the public. It is a good example of Nara's traditional machiya townhouses with a shop space in the front of the building and th...Read more
  10. Shin - Yakushi - Ji

    4.4 (368 Votes)
    Shin - Yakushi - Ji

    Religious Site, Temple, Educational Site, Historical Site

    The Shin-Yakushi ji Temple was founded by Empress Komyo for the sake of the recovery of ailing Emperor Shomu. The temple is devoted to Yakushi Buddha, the patron of medicine. From the original construction, only the main hall (Hondo) has survived the test of time. The main hall houses statues of 12 guardian deities surrounding a two meter tall statue of a seated Yakushi Buddha. Each guardian ha...Read more
  11. Kasuga - Taisha

    4.4 (927 Votes)
    Kasuga - Taisha

    Art And Culture, Religious Site, Temple, Historical Site

    Claimed to be one of the best Shinto shrines in Japan, the Kasuga Taisha or the Kasuga Grand Shrine was originally the royal shrine of the powerful Fujiwara family and was founded in the year 768. As per Shinto concepts of purity, the temple was torn down and rebuilt every 20 years in its original form until 1863. The shrine features vermilion coloured pillars and houses an astounding 3,000 sto...Read more
  12. Mount Wakakusa

    4.5 (182 Votes)
    Mount Wakakusa

    Outdoors, Observatory, Entertainment, Adventure

    Mount Wakakusa aka Mount Wakakusayama is a hillock located behind Nara Park. The hillock is about 350 meters tall and offers unobstructed views of Nara city. However, tourists are allowed to climb Mount Wakakusayama only in spring and fall. This is done so as to protect the native grasses. During spring, the slopes of the hill which are lined with cherry trees come alive with cherry blossoms. A...Read more
  13. Konishi Sakura Dori Image
    Konishi Sakura Dori is a do-it-yourself barbeque restaurant. With a wide variety of barbeque plates, and many varieties of meat, a visit to this restaurant is a must if you are in the Konishicho area.  More about Nara Explore Konishi Sakura Dori and other prime spots of the city using Nara trip planner. Add accommodation and hotels in Nara that suit your budget including the most recommen...Read more
  14. Nara City Museum Of Photography


    Your treasure hunt will be incomplete without a visit to the Nara City Museum Of Photography, a place that is chock-a-block with the best of Japanese photography. Located in Nara, Japan, this Art museum was previously known as the Nara City Museum of Photography. This gem of a place will unfold its beautiful true-to-life-stories through each of its archived collections of the best photographers...Read more
  15. Todaiji Nigatsudo

    4.5 (19 Votes)
    Todaiji Nigatsudo
    A visit to Todaiji Nigatsudo will bring peace to your life. This Buddhist temple, on the hilltop is a branch of Todai-ji Budhist temple which will treat you to a refreshing view of the surrounding nature. You can see some of the monks wearing white dress nearby this location. The main attraction of this place is that the temple offers awesome fire ritual called Shunie in the Nitsumburo hall. He...Read more