Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara
This is one day course. The fee is 20 USD from Tokyo.
Japan's first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo,
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 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.
Nara is a spectacularly picturesque city which is second only to Kyoto
for the richness and beauty of its temples, shrines and gardens. It’s
possible to visit Nara as a daytrip from Kyoto and Osaka, but its gorgeous
districts and parks are certainly worth a few days of your time.
Itinerary is as follows.
Walk up Nobori-oji Street. They will start to encounter Nara’s famous
sacred deer as they go.
Use the underground crossings to get to the northeast corner of the Nobori-oji/Route
169. Walk from there to Isui-en Garden.
Walk from Isui-en along the backstreets to Todai-ji Temple. Before entering
the Daibutsu-den Hall to see the Great Buddha (Daibutsu), walk a little
south to check out the Nandai-mon Gate, with its two huge guardian figures.
Enter the Daibutsu-den. Take the time marveling at the Daibutsu and then
exit the Daibutsu-den. Walk along the east wall of the Daibutsu-den and
then go up the path that turns up to the right just past the small pond
to reach Nigatsu-do Hall.
Check out Nigatsu-do and then walk in the direction of the base of Wakakusa-yama.
Follow the narrow pathways through the forest to Kasuga-Taisha Shrine.
Follow the main path from Kasuga-Taisha all the way west until they reach
Kofuku-ji Temple. If they haven’t eaten lunch yet, you’ll find lots of
place in the shopping streets nearby (in Downtown Nara and Naramachi)
In the afternoon, make a loop south through Naramachi, checking out Sarusawa-no-ike
Pond, Koshi-no-Ie and the shops and galleries of the area.
Return to lodgings or one of the main train stations