Touring Nara

One interesting facet of Japanese culture is its bond with nature and outdoor activities. Many of Japan’s greatest cultural sights are to be seen in the nation’s beautiful outdoors, which can have a far more breathtaking beauty than even the busiest city’s lights.

Given Japan’s long and preserved history, many smaller towns and cities exist that mainly revolve around some sort of cultural sight or event that tends to be heavily tried into the local tourism industry. The town of Nara, obviously located in the Nara Prefecture, is one of the best examples of this.

Nara is historically especially significant as it used to, at one point in time over 1000 years ago, considered the capital city of Japan. One of the reasons this changed was because of the city’s local Buddhist culture being too politically unchecked, resulting in the capital city of Japan moving to the town of Nagaoka.

Located only an hour away from Kyoto or Osaka, Nara is literally filled with amazing outdoor-based cultural sights to see for the tourist. There are about 10 different significant sights to see, and given the proximity of them inside the city and its surrounding region, two days are enough to see them all when working with limited amounts of time.

The main attractions to see in Nara are generally temples, ruins and shrines. These become especially interesting when one has a vested interest in Japanese history and the history or culture of Buddhism, the prevalent historic religion of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Nara is not a very large city either, but given its proximity to Kyoto and Osaka, a favored getaway for many looking to relax with nature away from the stressful city life. The city’s population measures in at around 350,000, with the city only spanning 22 kilometers from its northern most point to its southern most point. It is also considered home to a variety of UNESCO World Heritage sites, collectively referred to as the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara. Most of these sights are best explored in the outdoors and are generally available all year around making a trip to Nara from its nearby cities a breeze to organize.

Image by asiarooms.com