Horyuji Temple

Naramachi Town is the former merchant district which is located in the old territory of Gangoji Temple, the south of Nara Park.There are many traditional merchant houses called “Machiya”. The houses have narrow fronts and lovely lattice windows. “Koshi-no-ie (lattice house)” is open for visitors, you can see the inside of Machiya here.
There are also shops, cafes, restaurants and small museums in the area. Japanese sake breweries are popular where you can taste some different sake with a reasonable price. Naramachi Town has become a new tourist spot in Nara.


NPO Nara Guide Club

Photos: Tourism Section Nara Municipal Officeffice

Sightseeing spots

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Toshodaiji Temple

The original Kohfukuji Temple was founded in 669 by Fujiwara clan, the most powerful aristocratic family of the period. When Nara became the first capital of Japan in 710, the temple was moved to the present site.
Today the temple is UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Five- story Pagoda is a symbol of Nara.
The Treasure House exhibits the temple’s valuable art collection such as Ashura (one of the most popular Buddha statues) and Thousand- handed Kan’non statue.

The Heijo-kyo Capital was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784. The city, modeled after the Chinese Tang Capital, Chang’an, was divided into a grid pattern with the streets and avenues around the main Suzaku Boulevard 75m wide. However, after the capital was transferred to Kyoto, the buildings were moved to the new capital and almost all of the land was changed into paddy fields. As a result, a huge number of ancient wooden tablets and various relics under the ground have been preserved in good condition.
The Heijo Palace Site was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. The most important building, the Imperial Audience Hall and the main gate of the Heijo Palace, The Suzaku Gate, have been restored recently.

The Shin-yakushiji Temple was founded by the Empress Komyo in 747 to pray for the recovery of the Emperor Shomu from his illness. The original buildings such as the Golden Hall, the east and west pagodas, and the monks’ dormitories were destroyed by lightning and storm. The present Main Hall is the only original building to survive (National Treasure). The main image, the seated Healing Buddha, and the 12 divine generals enshrined in the Main Hall, are designated as National Treasures except part of one which suffered a loss. In autumn, Japanese bush-clover bloom in the precinct.

Horyuji Temple was founded by Prince Shotoku in 607. The Kondo (Main Hall), the Five-story Pagoda and the Middle Gate in the West Precinct are the oldest wooden buildings in the world. The Kondo (Main Hall) enshrines the 7th century Buddha statue, the Shaka Triad, casted by the sculptor Tori.
Temple Treasure Gallery exhibits a lot of National Trasures such as Kudara Kan’non, Tamamushi Alter.
The main attraction of the East Precinct is the Yumedono (Hall of Dreams). The Hall enshrines Kuse Kan’non which had been a hidden statue for a long time. 
Horyuji Temple was designated as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site of Japan in 1993.

Toshodaiji Temple was founded in 759 by a Chinese priest Ganjin who was invited to Japan by Emperor Shomu in order to train and initiate the ordination to Japanese priests.
The temple is UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a peaceful and quiet atmosphere. The Kondo (Golden Hall) is the greatest 8th century architecture in Japan and enshrines three great Buddha statues, the Rushanabutsu, the Thousand- handed Kan’non and the Yakushi Healing Buddha. The Lecture Hall is the only existing building of Heijo Palace compound.

The construction of Yakushiji Temple was planned by Emperor Temmu, but he died before the temple was completed. So his wife, Empress Jito, completed the temple in the late 7th century.
Now the temple is UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple has two pagodas and the East Pagoda (8C) is the temple’s only building which survived many fires. The Yakushi Triad in the Kondo (Main Hall) is a master piece of Japanese Buddhist art as well as the Sho Kan’non in the Toindo Hall.

Yakushiji Temple

Gangoji Temple was originally built in Asuka area and called Hokoji Temple or Asukadera Temple. The temple was the first formal Buddhist temple of Japan. After Nara became the capital of Japan, the temple was moved to the present site in 718 and renamed Gangoji Temple. Some 1400 year-old tiles which were used in Hokoji Temple are used on the roofs of Gokurakubo Hall and Zenshitsu Hall even now.Main image of the temple is a picture of Buddhist Paradise called Chiko Mandala. It is said that Priest Chiko saw the paradise in his dream.The temple was designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

Gangoji Temple

Kasuga Taisha Shrine was founded in 768 to protect the Heijokyo capital. The shrine is located at the foot of a sacred mountain called Mt. Mikasa. It is well-known that Fujiwara clan, the most powerful family from the 8C to the 12C, had worshiped and protected the shrine. According to the shrine’s legend, the Shinto Kami (god) first came down on the mountain riding on a white deer. Since then deer have been treasured in Nara
There are about three thousands lanterns on the ground. We can enjoy beautiful wisteria in May. The shrine is designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Todaiji Temple

Todaiji Temple (East Great Temple) is one of Japan’s most famous temples and is designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The temple was founded by Emperor Shomu in 752. The temple is widely known for the Great Buddha, the biggest Buddha image in Japan. The Daibutsuden Hall, the home of the Great Buddha, is the largest wooden building in the world.

Kohfukuji Temple

The Heijo Palace Site

The Shin-yakushiji Temple