The Former Site of Heijokyu Imperial Palace is the site upon which Heijo Palace or Heijkyo once stood. The site now features reconstructions of the Imperial Audience Hall where the Emperor’s throne was located, the Suzaku Gate and the East Palace Garden. These were reconstructed based on archeological findings and records from the time. It is worth downloading the free app called Nara Heijokyo Historic Walk (there are QR codes at the site), with an audio commentary on what court life would have been like. The palace buildings are free to enter, wheelchair/stroller accessible and contain some explanations in English about the construction and architectural features. Heijokyo was Japan’s first capital, though it only lasted 74 years from 710 to 784. Built on a grid in the style of Tang Chinese capital Xi’an, it covered around 30 square kilometers, with the palace at the north end. After the capital was moved to Kyoto, Heijo Palace and the surrounding buildings were abandoned and fell into disrepair.
To fully experience the original atmosphere, the site is best approached from the grand Suzaku Gate to the south, where foreign dignitaries were first welcomed to the palace. As you walk towards the restored Imperial Audience Hall which housed the Emperor’s throne, you pass through squares where the palace guards would have stood to attention. The raised earthworks on each side indicate the original administrative buildings. Free to enter, the Imperial Audience Hall features exhibitions detailing the archeological excavations conducted at the palace site. From the imposing throne, you can walk out onto the deck where the Emperor would have surveyed the city.
The site is about 10 minutes walk from Yamato Saidaiji station or a 15 minute bike ride from JR Nara station. Nearby, Saidaiji Temple was one of Nara’s main temples along with Todaiji Temple. A short train ride will take you to World Heritage temples Yakushiji Temple and Toshodaiji Temple.
Last update: 2017-04-19
- Venue Details & Access Info
From Kintetsu Nara Station:
- Take a bus bound to Nishi Odera and alight at Heijyokyuseki.
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- 平城宮跡 Former Site of Heijokyu Imperial Palace
- address 奈良市佐紀町 Sakicho, Nara
- Opening Time & Admissions
9:00 - 16:30 (last admission 16:00)
Mondays (except public holidays) / Closed on Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday
Year-end and New Year holidays
- Contact Details