With plenty of interesting shrines, temples and sightseeing spots, the compact and relatively flat Nara City is perfect for cycling. There are multiple places to rent and drop off your bicycle, for convenient sightseeing.
Cycling around Nara City
Rental and Bike Share
Docomo Bike Share is now available across Nara City, with drop off points at major stations and sightseeing spots. You can easily rent a bicycle with your smart phone. Another option is the international bike share service Mobike, which uses a convenient app to help you rent and drop off your bicycle.
The NAKO Rent-a-Cycle system allows you to pick up and drop off a rental bike at Kintetsu Nara Station, Yamato Saidaiji Station, or Nishinokyo Station, with convenient access to major shrines, temples and sightseeing spots.
Kintetsu Nara Station is the main point of arrival for most visitors coming by train. There’s a tourist information center, coin lockers and ATMs in the station, as well as plenty of restaurants and shopping spots nearby.
Famous for its confident and ultra-cute deer, easy cycling, museums, shrines and temples, and restaurants, Nara Park is the ultimate destination no matter the season.
In a quiet, residential area southeast of Nara Park, you’ll find one of Japan’s great treasures; statues of the Twelve Heavenly Generals. The figures were crafted from clay and have been enshrined in the temple. Despite their fragility, the statues have been here for more than a thousand years.
In the heart of charming Naramachi, Gangoji Temple was constructed in Asuka around A.D. 588, then relocated to Heijokyo when it became the new capital.
The Naramachi area has a traditional atmosphere, with restaurants and shops in restored machiya style houses. Stop off for Michelin starred soba noodles at Gen, or take time out for green tea and a light meal at Kanakana. The area is perfect for souvenir shopping, with many traditional craft and sweet shops. Yu Nakagawa is famous for its delicate linens and local crafts with a quirky twist.
Although many of its treasures and structures have been lost to fire, Daianji Temple remains one of the seven great temples of Nara, and one of the oldest in Japan, revered for protecting against cancer.
- Daianji Temple
- Daianji Temple remains one of the seven great temples of Nara, revered for its protection against cancer.
Built around A.D. 680, this is one of the most famous temples in Japan, with its historical and architectural significance earning it UNESCO World Heritage status. The East pagoda is the only original structure remaining from the Nara period, renowned for its beauty.
Toshodaiji Temple is a short distance from Yakushiji Temple and has a calm and solemn atmosphere. The main hall contains Buddhist statues that are designated National Treasures. Preserved since the eighth century, the pillars of the main hall draw comparisons with the Parthenon for their sense of balance.
At Heijokyo, the site of Japan's capital city in the late eighth century, the newly opened Suzaku-mon Hiroba Square is a perfect spot to explore and relax. Besides souvenir shops, it features plenty of convenient bicycle parking, and is home to a restaurant, cafes, VR theatre tourist information, and an observation deck with sweeping views across the palace site.
As a major interchange for trains between Nara and Kyoto, Yamato-Saidaiji Station is a destination in its own right, with cafes and restaurants nearby. On a sunny day, you can enjoy a coffee break in the fresh air at nearby Cauda Beans & Cafe—the perfect end to a leisurely day on two wheels.