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.