Best places to visit in Ancient Nara
UNESCO calls the world heritage sites of Nara collectively as the historic monuments of ancient Nara.
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.
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?
The most popular of these sites are popular for a reason.
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. 😉
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.
Plan your trip to Japan
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How much does a JR pass cost?!
See the current price from an official JR pass vendor for a 7-day, 14-day, and 21-day pass.
What are the best tours in Japan?!
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
Listed entry fees are approximate and are subject to change!
1. Todaiji Temple with Great Buddha
Cost: 600 yen (US$5)
Cost: 300 yen (US$3)
Cost: 500 yen (US$4)
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!
HAPPY HISTORIC NARA TRAVEL PLANNING!
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
The super fast train in JapanIn 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.
See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
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 JapanUnfortunately, 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 JapanIf 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.
See more of the best books for Japan trip planning.
Create your Japan itinerary
- 5 days in Kyoto
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- Where to go for famous Mt Fuji views as seen in pictures
- Know before you go to Hiroshima
- One day in Miyajima with famous floating torii views
- 3 days in Okinawa, Japan's tropical islands
- Cherry blossom photo walk
- When is the JR pass worth it for train travel?
- Tokyo to Kyoto train
- Hostels in Japan