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Spectacular Sunsets in Nara

With wide plains, rolling mountains and few tall buildings, Nara seems designed for perfect sunset views. The view of Kohfukuji Temple’s pagoda silhouetted against the fading sun is one of the classic images of Nara. And with few street lights to interrupt the mood, you can forget the stress of modern life.

ringed by low mountains, the dramatic sunsets are breathtaking

As the sun sinks over the grassy plain and the Former Site of Heijokyu Imperial Palace, you feel like you have travelled back in time to the Nara period. Ringed by low mountains, the dramatic sunsets are breathtaking.

the sun crowns the far off mountains in a glowing light

Behind Todaiji Temple, Mt. Wakakusa offers a bird’s-eye-view of the Nara basin as the sun crowns the far off mountains in a glowing light.


There are several viewing areas with seating on the way to the top of the mountain, which can be climbed easily from the park below, taking a little over 30 minutes. Remember to bring a flashlight for the descent after dark, or ask your accommodation to pre-order a taxi to pick you up

feel like you’re in a fairytale

Walking up the stone steps to the Nigatsudo temple building, you are rewarded with stunning views. Lit by lanterns at night, the area takes on a magical atmosphere at sunset. Below, as the setting sun hits the tiled rooftops and the lights of the priests’ houses flicker on, you feel like you’re in a fairytale.

glittering lights

Fans of Studio Ghibli animations might feel a sense of “Spirited Away” as the sun sets and the lanterns start to glow. High on Mt. Ikoma, the streets around Hozanji Temple take on a fairytale atmosphere at dusk. The glittering lights of Osaka below, add to the magic.

fantastic views over Yoshino

Visit Mt. Takagi Observatory for fantastic views over Yoshino, especially in cherry blossom season when there are often light-up events at dusk. Equally spectacular are the views in autumn, when the leaves change red, gold and yellow. There is a bus in spring and autumn, but the last service departs around 3pm. You can hike from Kinpusen-ji Temple in about 25 minutes. The road is steep and dark, so bring a flashlight.

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