Best places to visit in Ancient Nara

Must-visit in Nara. Best UNESCO world heritage list in ancient Nara. Backpacking Japan

 

UNESCO calls the world heritage sites of Nara collectively as the historic monuments of ancient Nara.

List of best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Backpacking Japan

 

List of world heritage sites in Nara

Nara is the location of a former capital city of Japan, in the years 710 to 784. This means it’s a city full of history and culture.

Nara is commonly visited as a day trip from Kyoto or from Osaka.

And with nearly 10 sites that include temples, a shrine, a palace, and a forest on the list of UNESCO designated historically and culturally important places in Nara, how to choose which of them to go to when you only have one day in Nara?

List of best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Backpacking Japan

The most popular of these sites are popular for a reason.

Best places to visit in Nara. List of best UNESCO world heritage in ancient Nara. Backpacking Japan

But that doesn’t mean the others don’t deserve a look too.

Most of these top places to visit in Nara have grounds that you can roam around.

The famous Nara deer might be roaming with you too. 😉

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Deer near Todaiji temple at Nara Park. Backpacking Japan

So if you’re looking to experience a bit of history and culture in Japan, Nara can be a good city to visit.

And another one of the best cities to visit for the same reasons is Kyoto, which is also famous for being a former capital city of Japan.

There are also a ton of world heritage sites in Kyoto too, even more than there are in Nara.

 

 

And…

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Now…

First, a map of Nara so you can make plans to visit these historical and cultural places.

Then, a list of some of the world heritage sites that are also among the most visited spots in Nara.

After that, some more world heritage sites for you to explore.

 

Map of UNESCO world heritage sites in Nara

Better plan out your day in Nara based on where these temples and shrines are located.

Have a look at the map of Nara’s world heritage sites.

 

 

If you’re coming from Pinterest mobile, open up this page in your browser to view the map! Then you can also view this Nara map on your Google maps app too.

 

Top Nara attractions: List of places to visit in Ancient Nara

 

Must-visit in Nara. List of best UNESCO world heritage sites in ancient Nara. Backpacking Japan

 

Listed entry fees are approximate and are subject to change!

 

1. Todaiji Temple with Great Buddha

Cost: 600 yen (US$5)

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Todaiji Temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Great Buddha hall at Todaiji temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Wooden pillar column with hole. Great Buddha nostril size. Great Buddha hall at Todaiji temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Great Buddha hall at Todaiji temple. Backpacking Japan

 

2. Kofukuji Temple

Cost: 300 yen (US$3)

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Kofukuji temple and pagoda. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Kofukuji temple. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Kofukuji temple and pagoda. Backpacking Japan

 

3. Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Cost: 500 yen (US$4)

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Kasuga taisha shrine. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Kasuga taisha shrine lanterns. Backpacking Japan

Best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Kasuga taisha shrine. Backpacking Japan

 

More historic monuments of ancient Nara

  • Gangoji Temple
  • Toshodaiji Temple
  • Yakushiji Temple
  • Kasugayama Primeval Forest
  • Heijo Palace remains (Nara Imperial Palace)

 

Plan your trip to Nara

For the best way to see the most popular world heritage sites when you’re short on time, see this one day itinerary of the best places to visit in Nara!

 

List of best UNESCO world heritage sites to visit in Nara. Backpacking Japan

HAPPY HISTORIC NARA TRAVEL PLANNING!

 

Plan your day with visits to the world heritage sites of Kyoto

 



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The super fast train in Japan
In general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure.

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NEW way of buying individual shinkansen train tickets online!
I will start by saying I have NOT bought train tickets online this way (yet!) to verify this! (But it's on my list for my next trip to Japan!)

There's an online train ticket booking method that's popular for other parts of Asia, and they are just now branching out to Japan.

You can now buy train tickets online here for popular shinkansen train routes. (And some bus routes too.)

I've used this booking site for taking the train from Thailand to Malaysia, and it worked out well, so I would expect it to work out well in Japan too!

The thing is, though, that you need to pick up the physical train tickets in person.

So it won't be enough to just buy the tickets online. I had to do this in Bangkok for my train ticket - and it was easy! So again, I would think it'd be easy for Japan train tickets too.

Search for popular routes in Japan here. For example, Tokyo to Kyoto.

If you end up buying train tickets online this way, I would love to hear how it goes! Whether that's good, or if it came with some challenges!

Natural disasters in Japan
Unfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.

My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon.

See how much insurance costs for your trip.

Best travel guides for Japan
If you're at step 1 in your planning process, have a look at this Discover Japan book.

For "books" that won't take up space in your suitcase, see the best PDF guides.

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That's it for now!