Only in Nara: Unique Places, Unforgettable Experiences
Exploring Nara can feel like walking through the pages of a living history book. Many of the festivals have continued for hundreds of years. You can experience the atmosphere of ancient times, with the conveniences of modern life.
From spectacular scenery to quirky local customs, you can see and experience things that you won’t find anywhere else in Japan, or in the world. Try some of these ideas and your visit to Nara will be unforgettable.
Twice a year in February and August, from sunset, more than 3,000 lanterns are lit along the path leading through the forest to Kasugataisha Shrine. The shrine itself is illuminated by candles and decorative gilded lanterns. For 800 years, people have strolled these softly lit paths.
Yamato Koriyama has a storied history of breeding goldfish since the Edo period. The Goldfish Museum at Yamato Kingyoen offers the chance to get up close and see over 40 rare goldfish breeds. The walk through the goldfish farms is also picturesque.
One of the most unique shrines in the area, Koriyama Hachimanjinja Shrine is a must for baseball fans. Locals donated baseball equipment for disadvantaged teams overseas and the whole shrine took on the baseball theme. Many famous players have donated mitts and photos.
The town of Dorogawa Onsen is a favourite escape in the hot summer months, and famous for its abundant hot springs. At night, the town looks like a fairytale, the main street illuminated by paper lanterns. Stroll in cotton yukata and enjoy the summer fireworks.
Tanize Suspension Bridge is one of Japan’s longest suspension bridges and an essential connection across the Totsukawa River. It feels a bit Indiana Jones, but is perfectly safe. From the bridge, you can get outstanding views of the scenic landscape.
The deer are a big Nara attraction. In mornings through February and March, a French horn player summons the deer with Beethoven; the sight of the deer trotting across the park is amazing. Visit the Foundation for the Protection of Deer in June to see the cute new fauns.