Nara (奈良) was in the 8th century the first fixed capital of Japan, under the name of Heijo-kyo (平城 京), as before, according to the Shinto beliefs, death was impure and it was necessary to destroy everything that was related to the Emperor after his death.
Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor Kyoto, Nara is omitted from many tourist’s itinerary.
However, Nara is home to many important historical sites, such as Todai-ji Temple, the world’s largest wooden structure, with its Daibutsuden (Hall of the Great Buddha).
Nara today preserves its main sights much more attractively than Kyoto within Nara Park and its Sacred Deer and neighborhoods like Naramachi.
Many travelers go to Nara to see the statue of the Great Buddha and the sacred deers, but Nara’s rich heritage also spans ancient monuments, some of Japan’s oldest temples and shrines and sacred mountain trails – Nara is the starting point of one of the World Heritage Kumano Trails.
If you have three or four days in Kyoto/Osaka, we also suggest making this day trip.