Famous for temples and artwork dating to the 8th century it also features Deer roam in Nara Park where you can – albeit cautiously – approach the deer for close-up photos. Nara is also home to Daibutsu, Tōdai-ji’s 15m-high bronze Buddha, displayed in a large wooden hall.
Located less than an hour by train from Kyoto and Osaka, and easily accessible from Tokyo, Nara City is home to myriad temples, shrines, and historically and culturally significant sites, including eight different UNESCO sites – Nara Palace Site, Todai-ji, Kofuku-ji, Yakushi-ji, Gango-ji, Kasuga Taisha, and the Kasugayama Primeval Forest.
One of the best ways to experience Nara is on foot and tour operator Oku Japan has a five-day self-guided walking trip. The itinerary highlights include walking along the historic Yamanobe-no-michi and Yagyu Kaido trails, hiking the forested trail to the Tanzan Shrine, and seeing the beautiful, terraced rice fields of Asuka-mura.
Accommodations include stays in a friendly family homestay for a truly immersive experience or a traditional Minshuku guesthouse for two nights in Asuka-mura and two nights in a centrally located hotel.
An upgrade is available for the Machiya townhouse in Nara, beautiful wooden structures that have seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to younger craftsmen and designers recognizing the cultural significance of such majestic and typically historic buildings.
Prices start at US$1,165 per person. The recommended travel times is March-November. Bookings can be made Off the beaten track Japan | Oku Japan.
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