Japan's first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo-kyo, the city now known as Nara. As the influence and political ambitions of the city's powerful Buddhist monasteries grew to become a serious threat to the government, the capital was moved to Nagaoka-kyo in 784.
Nara is located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples.
The centrepiece is the Daibutsu (Great Buddha), which rivals Mt Fuji and Kyoto's Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) as Japan's single most impressive sight. The Great Buddha is housed in Todai-ji, a soaring temple that presides over Nara-koen, a park filled with other fascinating sights that lends itself to relaxed strolling amid greenery and tame deer.
Many people visit Nara as a side trip from Kyoto, but you might spend one day around the city centre and the other seeing the sights west and southwest of Nara city (areas known as Nishinokyō and Ikaruga,Horyu-ji Temple).
Popular Places for Nara travel (Click each item)
Todai-ji Temple the Great Buddha hall, a landmark of Nara
Kasuga-taisha Shrine World Cultural Heritage Site
Isuien Garden is a Japanese garden located in Nara-city
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