The ancient Japanese capital of Nara has lots to offer visitors, including a range of UNESCO-listed sites like Todaiji Temple and a collection of gardens and parks. Here are some options to visit Nara on either a half- or full-day trip from Kyoto.
See more of Nara in less time on a half-day trip covering highlights such as Nara’s Shinto-inspired Kasuga Shrine, the thousands of deer at the famous Nara Park, and the iconic Todaiji Temple with its “Daibutsuden” (Great Buddha Hall).
Full-day excursions offer a more leisurely opportunity to get to know the ancient Japanese culture and numerous landmarks in Nara. During your all-day visit, you’ll likely get to explore many of the sights mentioned above, plus other landmarks like Kofuku-ji Temple and Nijo Castle. Some full-day trips even offer optional side visits to Kyoto, or upgrades like a private tour or luxury transport.
Things to Know
Nara is situated 26 miles (42 kilometers) from Kyoto, and is easily accessible by either train or bus.
Trains leave Kyoto twice an hour, and the journey to Nara takes 35 minutes.
Guests with time for independent exploration should consider stops at other Nara highlights including Yakushiji Temple, Isuien Garden, and “Naramachi,” the city’s traditional merchant district.
Nara lies in a temperate climate zone, with hot summers and chilly winter temperate. Make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and dress appropriately for the season.