Visit the Eastern Golden Hall of Kohfukuji Temple and Admire Its Treasures

If you make a pilgrimage to Nara and find yourself in Nara Koen (the park) there are countless things to see in the extensive grounds. At Kohfukuji there are three golden halls, the Eastern one (Tohkondo) having been rebuilt six times due to destruction by fire. The original building (built in 726) was commissioned by…

Shikamaro-kun Choco-Mochi Sweets: Nara’s Delicious ’Deer Poop’ Souvenirs!

Anyone who knows me will be well aware of my slight obsession with Shikamaro-kun, the oh-so-cute yuru-chara (mascot) of the Nara City Tourist Association. As such, any sort of chocolatey snack with his face on it was a sure sell and I left Nara with a collection of Shikamaro-kun mochi sweets to try. Mochi Author’s…

Naramachi Museum: A Trove of Local Treasures Off the Beaten Track

While it’s always nice to visit the big, famous museums in the cities you go to in Japan, it can also be worth your while to seek out less well-known museums for an insight into something a bit different. Going down the road less traveled can introduce you to tourist attractions that are known only…

Visit Hokke-do to View the Exquisite Ancient Statues in Nara Koen

The Todaiji Temple complex in Nara Koen encompasses the Great Buddha Hall, the Todaiji Museum, and many other buildings besides. However, rather than the biggest tourist attraction in the area (the great Buddha), it was Hokke-do (the statue hall) which stole my heart and was, in my opinion, the most interesting and unique thing I…

The Nara National Museum: a Plethora of Art and History Nestled in Nature

Nara Koen (Nara Park) is famous for several reasons, namely its shika deer and the large Buddha statue which is a prime attraction in the park. But aside from these, and no less worthy of a visit is the Nara National Museum. Viewing this vast collection of Buddhist art is a fitting way to learn…

Guesthouse Naramachi: Step Back in Time at This Traditional Inn in Nara

Going on holiday in Japan is an experience quite different compared to travelling in other countries, mainly because of the wide variety of places in which you can spend the night. Aside from normal hotels (ranging from budget B&B style to top chains like the Hotel Nikko or ANA Crowne Plaza), you can also choose…

Kakinoha-zushi: Nara’s Local Delicacy that is a Must-Try for Visitors!

Each area or prefecture in Japan has it’s own delicacies, and Nara is no different. The Nara region (near Osaka and Kyoto, in Kansai) is famous for its kakinoha-zushi, which translates as ‘persimmon leaf sushi’. This delicacy is a must try for visitors to the city, or a possible option of omiyage to bring back…

An Inexpensive Day Trip to Nara: 4 Must-See Places to Visit

When Nara is mentioned, the first place that comes to mind is the Nara Deer Park where more than a thousand deer roam freely. However, did you know that Nara was Japan’s first permanent capital? This was in around 710 in the Nara Era when the city was known as ‘Heijokyo’. It is one of…

Nara Dreamland: A Happy Place that Turned Into an Abandoned Ghost Town

In the year 1961, a theme park was built in Nara as a response to the popular California Disneyland, and it was called Nara Dreamland. The park looked almost identical to Disneyland: its entrance looked the same, and there is a fairy tale castle. However, due to the declining number of visitors every year, the…

Mt Omine’s Ban on Women and 3 Tests of Courage!

Mount Omine is a holy mountain located in the Nara Prefecture and although it is popularly known as Mount Omine, its official name is actually Mount Sanjo. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is popular for its three tests of courage. The Ominesanji Temple is situated at the top of the mountain…