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Top Things to Do in Nara This Summer

If you are visiting Nara this summer, you are in for a treat; because temperatures are high and the sun is out! Whether you are looking to soak up the sun in Nara Park, go local at a colourful summer festival or simply find some shade, we have you covered with our list of the top Nara picks this summer.

One of the more unusual sights you can expect to see in Dorogawa during summer is the Shugendo practioner. They dress from head to toe in white, wear bags made from animal skins around their waists and sound conch shells from time to time. They come to Dorogawa in large numbers in summer to practice Shugendo, a form of ascetic mountain Buddhism, and make pilgrimages in the surrounding mountains. Despite their rather unique appearance, they are all very friendly. To book accommodation in Dorogawa during the peak summer season, pay a visit to Nara Visitor Center & Inn where English-speaking staff can call around and check vacancies.

If you don’t want to venture as far south as Dorogawa and Mitarai Valley, there is some excellent hiking to be had along the Yamanobe-no-Michi, a scenic trail leading through the Japanese countryside. It’s a great way to experience traditional Japan and meet the locals. We recommend starting at Tenri Station where there is clear signage and ending at Ohmiwa Jinja Shrine, in Miwa, Sakurai. The walk usually takes three to four hours, but may take a little longer in summer with more frequent breaks to rest and rehydrate.

Either before or after exploring some of the more further afield areas like Dorogawa and Sakurai, make sure to set aside some time for Nara Park. It’s the best place to spend a leisurely day soaking up the sun. If it gets too hot, you can always cool down at Kasugataisha Shrine. The grounds are huge and offer plenty of shade.

Kasugataisha Shrine

As soon as you start up the lantern-lined forest path to the shrine, you will notice a comfortable drop in temperature. Expect to find a few deer enjoying the shade too.

History & Culture | Nara Park

Summer Festivals

July

Katsuragi Fireworks Display

Firework displays are held all across Nara through summer. The Katsuragi display is one of the biggest and best.

Fireworks | Katsuragi

August

Dorogawa Gyoja Festival

Held over two days at the beginning of August, this colourful street festival draws crowds in Dorogawa.

Cultural Events | Dorogawa Onsen
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