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Day Trip To Nara—The Ultimate Nara Itinerary One Day

If you have been spending some time researching for fun-filled activities to do and places to visit on a day trip to Nara, I have got you covered. 

Among the first few of Japan’s ancient capitals, Nara has several historically stunning temples and shrines that will leave your jaw dropping to the ground; apart from having the tame, wild deer that roam freely around the Nara Park waiting to be pet and fed generously.

Continue reading this comprehensive Nara itinerary one day and guide that shows the major highlights to visit, food-to-eat, and useful tips that you can rely on to make sure you have your best time travelling around this fascinating city.   

So let’s get into it!

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Summary Of Nara Day Trip Itinerary

  • Explore Kofukuji Temple
  • Visit Kasuga Taisha Shrine
  • Wander around with free-roaming deer in Nara Park
  • Have a zen moment at Yoshikien Garden
  • Pay a visit to the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue at Todaiji Temple
  • Have a shopping spree at Higashimuki Shopping Arcade
  • Enjoy the city’s nightlife at local bars

Nara Essentials: Nara Itinerary One Day

If you are planning for a Nara day trip from other Japanese cities, make sure you get a JR Pass before flying over to Japan.

A JR pass offers a time-saving, convenient, wallet-friendly approach to international visitors (like you and I), especially when you are exploring at least 3 cities in Japan.

Always get yourself a travel insurance before leaving for your international vacations.

Among all travel insurance companies out there, World Nomads is one of the top and highly recommended options.

Explore Kofukuji Temple

One of the places that you can go on your Nara 1 day itinerary is Kofukuji Temple

Founded in 669, this ancient Buddhist temple was relocated to Nara in 710 when the city became the capital. 

The iconic landmark of this temple is none other than its 5-storey wooden pagoda—the second highest historical pagoda in Japan. 

You can admire the architecture of this impressive wooden pagoda built without any nails from the outside as no entry is permitted. 

The temple grounds also consist of several other important buildings, such as the Central Golden Hall, the Eastern Golden Hall, the Northern and Southern Octagonal Halls, and the National Treasure Museum of Kofukuji. 

The Central Golden Hall was opened to the public in 2018 after years of reconstruction. 

Once you are in, you get to admire the magnificent statue of Buddha of Healing, Yakushi Nyorai. 

If you would like to see the precious Buddhist artwork and relics, you must make your way to the treasure museum. 

Closed to the public, both the Northern and Southern Octagonal Halls have about 1000 years of history housing Buddhist statues. 

Note: Kofukuji Temple is also one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in Japan!

Kofukuji Temple Grounds Entrance Fee: Free

Visiting Hours: Always open

Central Golden Hall Entrance Fee: US$5 (500 yen)

Eastern Golden Hall Entrance Fee: US$7 (300 yen)

National Treasure Museum Entrance Fee: US$7 (700 yen)

Eastern Golden Hall & National Treasure Entrance Fees: US$9 (900 yen)

Visiting Hours: 9 am-5 pm

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How To Get To Kofukuji Temple

  1. Bus
  • Board any buses en-route to Kasuga Taisha Shrine
  • Alight at: Kencho-mae bus stop
  • Fare: US$2 (220 yen)
  1. Walk
  • From Kintetsu Nara Station: 5 minutes
  • From JR Nara Station: 20 minutes 

Visit Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Kasuga Taisha Shrine is the must-visit place on your Nara day trip. 

Founded in 768, this celebrated Shinto shrine was built to dedicate to 4 Shinto Buddhist gods. 

Over here, you get to admire the beautiful architecture of Kasuga Taisha Shrine centralising around Kasuga-zukuri style that goes all the way back to the 8th century.

One of the unique views that you can find around this shrine is the presence of 2000 stone lanterns lined along the walkway and about 1000 bronze lanterns found around the shrine and at the shrine gates. 

The lanterns will only be lit twice a year—in February and August to celebrate Setsubun and Obon Mantoro. 

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The shrine grounds also house the Kasuga Taisha Shinen Manyo Botanical Garden, Kasuga Primeval Forest, and Kasuga Taisha Museum. 

The botanical garden has over 200 plant types and offers a spectacular view of blooming wisteria flowers from late April to early May. 

Kasuga Taisha Shrine Entrance Fee: Free (outer area), US$5 (500 yen for inner areas)

Visiting Hours: 6.30 am-5.30 pm (March to October), 7 am-5 pm (November to February), 9 am-4 pm (Inner areas)

Kasuga Taisha Museum Entrance  Fee: US$5 (500 yen)

Visiting Hours: 10 am-5 pm

Manyo Botanical Garden Entrance Fee: US$5 (500 yen)

Visiting Hours: 9 am-5 pm (March to October), 9 am-4.30 pm (December to February)

How To Get To Kasuga Taisha Shrine

  1. Bus
  • Available from both Kintetsu Nara Station and JR Nara Station
  • Alight at: Kasuga Taisha Honden bus stop
  • Fare: US$2 (220 yen)
  1. Walk
  • From Kintetsu Nara Station: 30 minutes
  • From JR Nara Station: 45 minutes 
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Wander Around with Free-Roaming Deer In Nara Park

You cannot call it a day without a trip to the famous Nara Park on your Nara itinerary!

This central park houses hundreds of wild deer that are free to roam around the park. 

These deer are considered as the gods’ messengers and labelled as a national treasure. 

You can feed the deer with deer crackers (shika-senbei) sold by the vendors in the park. 

The crackers are available in a packet of ten for about US$2 (150 yen).

Though they are tame, you might want to be cautious and do not taunt the deer with food as they can turn aggressive. 

I think everyone feels the same too when they are hangry? 

Note: The deer might even bow to you to get the food!

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Besides, thousands of cherry trees are planted throughout the park—making Nara Park a marvellous hanami (cherry blossom watching) spot.

You can also rent a kimono here to stroll around the park while taking endless pictures with the cute fawns!

Nara Park Entrance Fee: Free

Visiting Hours: Always open

How To Get To Nara Park

  1. Bus
  • Available from both Kintetsu Nara Station and JR Nara Station by Nara City Loop Bus (Bus #2)
  • Alight at: Multiple stops 
  • Fare: US$2 (210 yen)
  1. Walk
  • From Kintetsu Nara Station: 5 minutes
  • From JR Nara Station: 20 minutes 

Have A Zen Moment At Yoshikien Garden

Nara is also popular with the presence of enchanting gardens, and that includes Yoshikien Garden

Free admission to international tourists, this beautiful garden has three other mini gardens within its compound: a pond garden, a tea ceremony flower garden, and a moss garden. 

Yoshikien Garden got its name from the nearby Yoshikigawa River. 

It was built in 1919 on the previous Kofukuji Temple’s priest residences.

As you walk around the garden, you will get to see a few wooden buildings, unique stone lanterns, and stepping stones. 

There are also some resting places catered for visitors while admiring the scenic view of the garden. 

This garden is a great place to enjoy the fall foliage in autumn—a place filled with zen vibes that you should not miss in your Nara one day itinerary. 

Note: Remember to bring along your passport before visiting Yoshikien Garden. 

Yoshikien Garden Entrance Fee: Free for foreign tourists or US$3 (250 yen)

Visiting Hours: 9 am-5 pm

How To Get To Yoshikien Garden

  1. Bus
  • Available from JR Nara Station (Bus #2, #70, #72, #97)
  • Alight at: Kencho-higashi bus stop
  • Fare: US$2 (220 yen)
  1. Walk
  • From Kintetsu Nara Station: 15 minutes
  • From JR Nara Station: 30 minutes 

Pay A Visit To The World’s Largest Bronze Buddha Statue At Todaiji Temple

Another significant UNESCO World Heritage site, Todaiji Temple is one of the iconic landmarks that represent Nara.  

Besides being the largest wooden building in the world, this ancient temple also has the largest bronze Buddha (Dainichi Nyorai) statue with a whopping 15-metre tall and weighs about 500 tonnes. 

The wooden building is Todaiji’s Main Hall, also known as Daibutsuden or Big Buddha Hall.

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Apart from Daibutsuden Hall, the temple ground complex includes The Nandaimon Gate, Todaiji Museum, Nigatsudo Hall, Hokkedo Hall, Kaidando Hall, Shosoin Storehouse, and Mirror Pond. 

Nandaimon Gate is the main gate of Todaiji Temple—the largest temple entrance gate in the country. 

Built in Daibutsu style, this massive gate was rebuilt in 1195 and completed in 1203 along with two carved muscular Nio guardian statues measuring 8.4 metres tall.

If you are interested in seeing ancient Japanese Buddhist statues, paintings, and relics, make sure to head over to Todaiji Museum, Hokkedo Hall, and Kaidando Hall. 

Nigatsudo Hall is an excellent place to enjoy the scenic view of the city. 

Besides, this hall is where Omizutori is held every March annually—an important Buddhist ritual that has been celebrated for the past 1250 years. 

Inside Shosoin Storehouse lies thousands of historical art objects, ceramics, glassware, textiles, and others. However, visitors are not allowed to enter this hall. 

Todaiji Temple And Complex Entrance Fees And Visiting Hours

Todaiji Temple Entrance Fee: US$6 (600 yen)

Visiting Hours: 7.30 am-5.30 pm (April to October) or 8 am-5 pm (November to March)

Todaiji Museum Entrance Fee: US$6 (600 yen)

Visiting Hours: 9.30 am-5 pm

Nigatsu Hall Entrance Fee: Free

Visiting Hours: Always open

Hokkedo Hall Entrance Fee: US$7 (700 yen)

Visiting Hours: 7.30 am-5.30 pm (April to October) or 8 am-5 pm (November to March)

Kaidando Hall Entrance Fee: US$6 (600 yen)

Visiting Hours: 7.30 am-5.30 pm (April to October) or 8 am-5 pm (November to March)

Shosoin Storehouse Entrance Fee: NA

Visiting Hours: 10 am-3 pm

Note: Kaidando Hall is currently closed for three years from 2020 for reconstruction works. 

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How To Get To Todaiji Temple

  1. Bus
  • Available from both Kintetsu Nara Station and JR Nara Station
  • Alight at: Todaiji Daibutsuden bus stop
  • Fare: US$3 (300 yen)
  1. Walk
  • From Kintetsu Nara Station: 30 minutes
  • From JR Nara Station: 45 minutes 

Have A Shopping Spree At Higashimuki Shopping Arcade

A popular covered shopping arcade in Nara, Higashimuki Shopping Arcade is a good place for some shopping sprees and souvenirs hunting in your Nara day trip itinerary.  

Located next to Kintetsu Nara Station, you can find a wide range of restaurants and food choices available in this shopping arcade too. 

Note: If you are looking for a deer souvenir for yourself, this is an excellent place to get one!

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Enjoy The City’s Nightlife At Local Bars 

If you are still feeling energetic after spending most time exploring and walking around the city, head over to the local bars to enjoy the vibrant nightlife before calling it a day. 

Some bars come with live music performances too, or you can opt for the traditional Japanese-style bar for a glass (or two) of sake.  

Hot Staff is one of the local bars that offer music performances almost every weekend, besides serving Japanese fusion food and drinks. 

You can even check the performances schedule here

Address: 2-18 Imazato Building, 2-18 Saidaiji Honmachi, Nara 631-0816, Japan

Telephone Number: 0742-36-1189 (+81)

Operating Hours: 7 pm-1 am (Monday to Saturday) or 7 pm-12 am (Sunday)

Alternatively, you can go to Kuramoto Hoshuku for premium sake testing at a reasonable price. 

You also get to mingle with some locals here, as they usually will have a chill drinking session after working hours before going back home. 

Address: 1-1-1 Saidaiji Kunimicho Kintetsu, Yamatosaidaiji Station, Nara 631-0823, Japan

Telephone Number: 0742-36-0305 (+81)

Operating Hours: 3 pm-9 pm (Weekdays) or 2 pm-8 pm (Weekends)

Note: Remember to make your reservation before heading to the local bars!

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And that concludes your jam-packed Nara itinerary that allows you to visit the main highlights of this ancient city within 24 hours! 

If you plan to stay more than 1 day in Nara, continue to read this article to know where you can go next to fulfil your Nara wanderlust. 

Here are some recommended day tours for your Nara itinerary if you wish to immerse yourself into this city’s history and culture under the guidance of a local tour guide: 

This 4-hour guided bike tour includes stops at some of Nara’s main highlights such as Yoshikien Garden, Todaiji Temple, and Nara Park. 

Helmets and other essential bike gears are provided as well, so you can cycle to explore the city and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way with peace of mind. 

This half-day walking tour offers a great experience to visitors by getting to Naramachi—an old merchant district where century-old traditional machiya (narrow townhouse) and warehouses are still preserved in good condition to date. 

Besides, this English guided tour covers the trip to Shinyakushi Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine too—an ancient temple and shrine in Nara with over a thousand years of history. 

If you would like to indulge in the traditional food and drinks of Nara, you will need to sign up for this food walking tour.

The main highlights of this tour include a trip to Nakatanidou for freshly made mochi with the live mochi pounding session and sake tasting at the famous local brewery, Harushika Brewery.

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How Many Days Are Enough For Nara

As this article’s title suggested, you can visit most of this ancient city’s main highlights by spending 1 day in Nara at your pace.

However, you can easily spend 2 to 3 days exploring the whole of Nara as there is more to Nara than visiting the lovely deer-roaming park and temple-hopping!

Additional Places To Go In Nara

Below are some attractions that you can visit in Nara if you plan to spend more than 1 day in Nara: 

Mount Wakakusa

Mount Wakakusa, also known as Mount Wakakusayama, is a grass-covered mountain that you can go to admire the lovely panoramic view of Nara city. 

This mountain is located just behind Nara Park, in between Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Shrine. 

To enjoy the city view, expect to hike about 15 to 20 minutes up to the observatory site. Expect another 30 minutes hike if you wish to reach the mountain’s peak. 

Cherry trees are lining along the hiking trail too, making Mount Wakakusa one of the best spots for hanami in Nara in early April. 

Mount Wakakusa is also popular for another yearly festival that takes place in winter, known as Wakakusa Yamayaki. 

During the Wakakusa Yamayaki festival, Mount Wakakusa’s grass slopes are set ablaze. 

The intriguing sight is visible throughout the city, followed by a firework performance.

Mount Wakakusa Entrance Fee: US$2 (150 yen)

Visiting Hours: 9 am-5 pm (Closed from mid-December to late March)

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How To Get To Mount Wakakusa

  1. Bus
  • Available from both Kintetsu Nara Station and JR Nara Station (Bus #70 and #97)
  • Alight at: Kasuga Taisha bus stop
  • Fare: US$2 (220 yen)
  1. Walk
  • From Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine: 15 minutes 
  • From Kintetsu Nara Station:  35 minutes
  • From JR Nara Station: 50 minutes 

Yakushiji Temple

One of the oldest temples in Japan, Yakushiji Temple was built by Emperor Tenmu to honour Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of healing, when his wife fell sick. 

The temple ground consists of several ancient buildings—the Main Hall (Hondo), two 3-storey pagodas, the mausoleum (Genjo-Sanzoin), East Hall (Toindo), Treasury (Hozoden), and Lecture Hall (Daikodo).

The main hall is where you get to admire the Yakushi Triad—one of the most exquisite Japanese Buddhist sculptures that survived the massive fire in the 16th century. 

The octagonal-shaped Genjo-Sanzoin hall housed some remains of a prominent Buddhist monk, Genjo Sanzo. 

Of all buildings in this complex, the East Pagoda is the only structure that survived all the fires that fell onto Yakushiji Temple throughout the years.

Yakushiji Temple Entrance Fee: US$10 (1100 yen) or US$8 (800 yen) when Genjo-Sanzoin hall is closed

Visiting Hours: 8.30 am-5 pm

Note: Genjo-Sanzoin hall is closed from mid-January to February, July to mid-September, and December.  

How To Get To Yakushiji Temple

  1. Bus
  • From Kintetsu Nara Station and JR Nara Station: Bus #72, #78 & #98
  • Fare: US$3 (270 yen)
  • Alight At: Yakushiji bus stop (72 & 78), Yakushiji Chusajo (98)
  • Duration: 20 and 15 minutes respectively
  1. Train
  • Depart From: Kintetsu Nara Station
  • Alight At: Nishinokyo Station (Kintetsu Nara Line and transfer to Kintetsu Kashihara Line)
  • Fare: US$3 (260 yen)
  • Duration: 25 minutes

Horyuji Temple

The first UNESCO World Heritage in Japan is none other than Nara’s Horyuji Temple.

Home to one of the world’s oldest wooden buildings, Horyuji Temple was built by Prince Shotoku in 607. 

The temple ground is divided into two main sides: the Western Precinct and Eastern Precinct.

You can see the oldest wooden structures in Western Precinct: the Central Gate, the Main Hall, and a five-storey pagoda. 

Located between the two precincts are the Gallery of Temple Treasures that shows the ancient and historical artefacts and artworks related to Buddhism. 

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There is also another temple that you can visit next to Eastern Precinct: Chuguji Temple. 

This smaller temple houses a stunning Sitting Bodhisattva (Buddhist statue) with the right leg crossed on the left and a gentle smile on the face. 

Horyuji Temple Entrance Fee: US$14 (1500 yen) 

Visiting Hours: 8 am-5 pm

Chuguji Temple Entrance Fee: US$6 (600 yen) 

Visiting Hours: 9 am-4.30 pm

How To Get To Horyuji Temple

  1. Bus
  • From Kintetsu Nara Station and JR Nara Station: Bus #98
  • Fare: US$7 (770 yen)
  • Alight At: Horyuji-mae bus stop
  • Duration: 1 hour
  1. Train
  • Depart From: JR Nara Station
  • Alight At: Horyuji Station (Yamatoji Line)
  • Walk 20 minutes to Horyuji Temple or
  • Take Bus #72 to Horyuji Sando bus stop
  • Fare: US$2 (220 yen) for train + US$2 (190 yen) for bus
  • Duration: 30 minutes

Nara National Museum

If you can’t get enough of Japanese Buddhist statues, paintings, and art exhibitions, head over to Nara National Museum

The museum’s new wing is connected to the old one by an underground passage where a temporary exhibition of treasures belonging to Todaiji Temple is held in autumn. 

Nara National Museum Entrance Fee: US$7 (700 yen) 

Visiting Hours: 9.30 am-5 pm (Closed on Mondays)

How To Get To Nara National Museum

  1. Bus
  • From Kintetsu Nara Station: Bus #2
  • Fare: US$2 (220 yen)
  • Alight At: Himuro Shrine/National Museum bus stop
  • Duration: 5 minutes
  1. Walk 
  • From Kintetsu Nara Station:  15 minutes
  • From JR Nara Station: 30 minutes  

Best Time To Visit Nara

If you plan to enjoy the scenic view of cherry blossom or fall foliage for your Nara one day trip, then it is recommended to visit this city in spring (October to November) or autumn (March to May). 

These peak seasons draw a large crowd of local and international tourists to Nara.

Summer (June to August) in Nara is hot and humid. It is also the rainy season, though it does not rain every day. 

With the suitable outfit to brace the humidity and rain that this season brings, you can still explore the city at ease with a lesser tourist crowd. 

Winter (December to February) in Nara can be cold at times. The temperature can drop to as low as 8 degree Celsius. 

You can opt for a Nara onsen experience to immerse yourself in the local culture, besides keeping yourself warm during the chilly days. 

Nevertheless, it is worth noting that many local businesses will close on certain days, such as New Year—so plan your trip well before heading over to Nara.   

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How To Get To Nara 

Day Trip To Nara From Kyoto

Many tourists plan a Nara day trip from Kyoto because the travel duration to Nara by train takes less than an hour—making the short detour conveniently achievable.

The two train lines that you can opt for between Kyoto-Nara are: 

  • JR Nara Line
  • Kintetsu Kyoto Line

You can board the Miyakoji Rapid Train for US$7 (720 yen) from Kyoto Station to JR Nara Station via the JR Nara Line. The travel duration takes about 45 minutes. 

Alternatively, you can onboard a local train between these two stations for the same price but a longer travel duration of 70 minutes.

If you are holding a JR Pass, you will just have to choose the JR Nara Line as the train fare is covered by the pass—which means more budget to indulge the local delicacies!

Another train line that you can opt for is Kintetsu Kyoto Line to get to Nara from Kyoto. 

For limited express train service, a one-way ticket from Kyoto Station to Kintetsu Nara Station via Kintetsu Kyoto Line costs about US$11 (1160 yen). The travel duration is 35 minutes. 

Another cheaper train service to get is the express train; it will take about 45 minutes to reach Nara, and a one-way fare costs US$6 (640 yen).

Note: JR Pass does not cover any Kintetsu lines. 

Check out my Kyoto 2-Day Itinerary filled with comprehensive details on places to visit and mouth-watering food to try when you are in this magnificent city!

Day Trip To Nara From Osaka

Another popular place to have a day trip to Nara from is none other than this stunning megalopolitan—Osaka! 

The two train lines that you can opt for between Osaka-Nara are: 

  • JR Yamatoji Line
  • Kintetsu Nara Line

For the JR Nara Line, you can board a 45-minute Yamatoji rapid train from JR Osaka Station to JR Nara Station for US$8 (810 yen). 

JR pass holders can board this JR line for free as the fare is covered by the pass.

For Kintetsu train lines, you can choose to get on either limited express or express train services.

The fare for a one-way limited express train from Osaka-Namba Station to Kintetsu Nara Station is US$10 (1090 yen), and the duration is 30 minutes. 

The one-way express train between these two cities takes about 39 minutes and costs only US$6 (570 yen). 

Note: JR Pass does not cover any Kintetsu lines. 

To explore Osaka to your heart’s content, make sure to read on my jam-packed 1 Day Itinerary Osaka!

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Day Trip To Nara From Tokyo

You might need to do extra work on route planning and spend extra time travelling on the road for a day trip to Nara from the capital city of Japan.

To get to Nara, you will have to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto first before continuing the journey to this deer-roaming city. 

For the first leg of the trip (Tokyo to Kyoto), the fastest option that you can opt for is by boarding a shinkansen (bullet train). 

There are three shinkansen trains to choose from: Nozomi (140 minutes), Hikari (160 minutes), and Kodoma (4 hours). 

JR pass holders can only opt for Hikari and Kodoma trains as they are covered by this pass. JR pass is not valid on Nozomi trains. 

Typically, a one-way shinkansen ticket for a reserved and unreserved seat costs about US$128 (14 000 yen) and US$122 (13 320 yen) respectively.  

And once you reach Kyoto, you can follow the above guidelines to get to Nara. 

Note: The overall trip from Tokyo to Nara for a JR pass holder will take about 3.5 hours. 

If you are looking for unmissable things to do in Tokyo, read on my detailed 4 Days Tokyo Itinerary!

How To Get Around Nara 

You can easily explore this beautiful city by walking on foot as most of the attraction places listed in this 1 day Nara itinerary revolve around Nara Park and are within walking distance. 

Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle in Nara and explore the city at your own pace. 

However, you might need to opt for bus or train services if you plan to visit places located outside of the city, such as: 

  • Horyuji Temple
  • Yakushiji Temple
  • Toshodaiji Temple

You can use an ICOCA card for public transportation in Nara.

Where To Stay In Nara

If you plan to overnight in Nara, it is recommended to stay near

  • Nara Station or
  • Nara Park

to get to most of the main highlights mentioned in this Nara itinerary conveniently and leaving for other major cities such as Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo. 

Here are some of the accommodations in Nara that you can consider getting: 

Near Nara Station

Near Nara Park

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What To Eat In Nara

Every city in Japan has their own unique delicacies, and that includes Nara too. 

Here are the top 6 local food that you need to try during your Nara itinerary 1 day trip: 

Kuzumochi

Local to Nara, kuzumochi is made from kuzu starch and water—giving rise to a gelatinous and not-too-sticky texture. 

Typically served chilled, the mochi is then topped with black sugar syrup and kinako (roasted soybean powder).

A perfect snack to have in summer, you can get Kuzumochi at Nakai Shunpudo.

Address: 545 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Nara 639-3115, Japan

Telephone Number: 0746-32-3043 (+81)

Operating Hours: 9.30am – 4.30pm 

Miwa Somen

Miwa Somen has a long history of 1200 years in Japan, where Nara is the birthplace of this simple dish.

The thin noodle is made of flour and can be consumed either hot or cold. 

This brothy dish is usually accompanied with soya sauce and sweet sake and topped with spring onion and ginger. 

To have a try on Miwa Somen in Nara, you can head over to Miwa Yamamoto

Address: 880 Hashinaka, Sakurai, Nara, 633-0072, Japan

Telephone Number: 0744-44-2001 (+81)

Operating Hours: 11am – 3pm 

Narazuke 

Narazuke is a type of traditional Japanese pickles made by using the leftover sediments (known as sake lees) from the sake fermentation process to marinate a wide range of vegetables. 

Some of the vegetables used are gourd, ginger, carrot, and cucumber.

Usually paired with white rice, the pickles come with a robust, unique flavour and a hinge of sweetness and saltiness. 

You can get Narazuke from Yamazakiya in Nara. 

Address: 5 Higashimuki Minamimachi, Nara, 630-8216, Japan

Telephone Number: 0742-22-8039 (+81)

Operating Hours: 9.30am – 7pm

Kakinoha Zushi

Another traditional Nara delicacy, Kakinoha Zushi consists of a piece of salt-marinated fish on sushi-sized rice wrapped around with persimmon leaf.

This handmade sushi is later left for a few days for fermentation before consumption. 

Note: The persimmon leaves come with antibacterial properties. 

The usual fish choice to go is mackerel, though you can find this traditional sushi made with salmon, eel, and shrimp. 

If you are keen to try Kakinoha Zushi in Nara, you can visit Tanaka.

Address: 5-2 Higashimuki Nakamachi, Nara, 630-8215, Japan

Telephone Number: 0742-81-3651 (+81)

Operating Hours: 9.30am – 7pm

Note: Remember to remove the persimmon leaves before you gobble up this delicious sushi! 

Chagayu

Also known as green tea rice porridge, this simple delicacy is prepared with two main ingredients; green tea and rice.

This staple soup dish is associated with Buddhist monks during the ancient Japanese past, and this traditional dish boasts the heavenly roasted aroma of green tea.

You can try Chagayu in Nara at Tounochaya.

Address: 18 Minamijōdochō, Nara, 630-8341, Japan

Telephone Number: 0742-22-4348 (+81)

Operating Hours: 11.30am – 4pm

Kakigori

One of the best desserts to be eaten during hot days or summer, Kakigori is made from shaved ice topped with sugar syrup, fruits, or red beans. 

Ice is a pretty great deal in Nara, as they have shrines (Himuro Jinja Shrine and Kasuga Taisha Shrine) dedicated to the God of Ice!

To enjoy this Instagrammable icy dessert, you can head over to Houseki Bako.

Address: 47 Mochiidonocho, Nara, 630-8222, Japan

Telephone Number: 0742-93-4260 (+81)

Operating Hours: 10am – 5pm

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Unique Tips You Should Know When Visiting Nara 

These are some helpful tips to take note of to better brace yourself, making this day trip to Nara one of the best trips you ever had: 

Japan Visa Application 

The US and most European countries’ nationals do not need a travel visa to enter the country. 

However, all short term visitors must have proof of onward departure from Japan.

To know more information about Japan travel visa eligibility before planning your Nara itinerary, click on this link

Currency 

The official currency of Japan is the Japanese Yen. 

It is advisable to change your money at the arrival airports in Japan as they have better currency exchange rates. 

To have peace of mind, you can also bring along some extra foreign currency (such as US dollars) on hand just in case your ATM card is not working.   

Language 

Japan’s official language is Japanese. Most Japanese people do not speak fluent English. 

Nevertheless, there are plenty of signs available in most of the main attraction places in Nara, making navigating around these places smooth and tourist-friendly.

Internet Connectivity 

You can get a local SIM card with an internet plan or portable WIFI router when you touch down at the airport or having it be sent to your hotel.

Plug Socket Type 

Bring along a universal adapter before visiting the country. You can get the travel adapter here

ATM Machine 

You can find ATMs in the post office and convenience stores such as 7-11, Family Mart, and Lawson in the city.

However, most local businesses in the rural areas accept cash payment only—so remember to bring sufficient cash with you before leaving the city. 

Drinking Water 

Japan’s tap water is safe for drinking. To save some money on bottled water, get a water bottle with a purifier before flying into Nara. 

Safety Tips When At Nara Park With Wild Deer

The first golden rule of visiting the deer at Nara Park is not to tease them with their all-time favourite snack —the shika-senbei. 

Make sure your bag is fully zipped if you have other types of food in it, as the hungry deer might search the bag for the extra food.  

Some deer might bow for food, and if you have the deer crackers on hand, do reward them with it instead; or you might risk getting bitten. 

The deer have learnt to walk away if you wave them goodbye, though some hangry deer might give you a head bump from the back.

There are plenty of signs in the park showing how to treat the cute creatures respectfully so that you can skip those unwanted incidents and create better and positive travel memories.

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Bus Etiquette In Nara

When you are taking public buses to get around Nara, remember to enter via its back door. 

Get the bus ticket from the small machine next to the door. Before you get off the bus through the front door, pay the bus fare by placing the money into the small box next to the driver. 

To make the bus boarding and alighting process smoother, you can buy an ICOCA card and tap it against the card readers. The fare will be deducted automatically from the card. 

Tax-Free Shopping For Foreign Tourists

Foreign tourists might get tax exemption on certain goods and items while shopping at the participating outlets with the sign “Japan Tax-Free Shop”.

You can even get a tax refund if you spend more than 5000 yen on product purchases. 

Remember to bring along your passport before you kickstart your shopping spree!

Safety In Nara

Generally, Nara is safe for travelling. However, do stay alert to your surroundings and refrain from walking down a distant alleyway alone late at night.

Travel Insurance 

Get travel insurance for yourself before leaving for Nara. You can buy one from World Nomads. 

Additional Resources For Planning Nara Itinerary

If you would gather more information about Nara itinerary planning or getting a book to read while hitting the road, below are some recommended books for you:

day trip to nara
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Packing List For Day Trip To Nara

Here are some of the essential things that you should have before visiting Nara: 

Day trip to nara : Conclusion 

So here you go—a jam-packed list of things to do in Nara when you are visiting this lovely city!

Ranging from century-old Buddhist temples and shrines decorated with fascinating lanterns to peaceful gardens and green mountains to break away from the bustling city’s life, Nara has a lot more to offer to visitors.

Not to forget its mouth-watering local delicacies—Kuzumochi and Narazuke are to die for.

Let me know if you have been to this stunning city and share your travel experience with me, or reading this Nara itinerary makes you feel like booking an air ticket to get there instantly, or maybe you have other recommendations to share; I would really like to hear from you!

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