Japan’s oldest and largest temples are located in Nara in the Kansai region. Nara was the Japan’s first permanent capital city which was first established in the year 710 AD. The Miyakoji rapid trains operates every 30 minutes between Kyoto Station and JR Nara Station. The one way trip takes around 45 minutes and costs 690 yen and the Japan rail pass is valid on these trains. There are also multiple Yamatoji rapid trains every hour which operate between Osaka Station and JR Nara Station (45 minutes, 780 yen one way). These trains also stops at Osaka’s Tennoji Station (30 minutes, 450 yen one way) and the Japan rail pass fully covers the trip.
Nara Park (Nara Koen) is a large park located in Central Nara. The park is home to freely 1200 roaming Deer and have been designated a natural treasure. Deer crackers are available for sale around the park to feed the Deers.
One of the eight historic monuments of ancient Nara inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list is the Kofuku-ji Temple a Buddhist temple and was the main temple for the Fujiwara family. In the grounds of the temple, there are two Pagodas dating back to 1143 AD and 1426 AD. The five storeys Pagoda is the second largest in Japan after the Kyoto’s To-ji by few centimetres. The second Pagoda is three storeys and they are the landmark and symbol of Nara. The temple can be visited free of charge and the grounds are open all year round.
Todai-ji one of Japan’s most famous and significant temples located in Nara is a must see destination in Nara. The Hall of the Great Buddha is located inside Todai-ji. Nara’s famous Great Buddha – Daibutsu is housed inside the Daibutsu-den. The Daibutsu-den is the largest wooden building in the world. The seated Buddha represents Vairocana and is flanked by two Bodhisattvas. The present statue, recast in the Edo period, stands just over 16m high and consists of 437 tonnes of bronze and 130 kg of gold. Along the approach to Todaiji stands the Nandaimon Gate, a large wooden gate watched over by two fierce-looking statues. Representing the Nio Guardian Kings, the statues are designated national treasures together with the gate itself. After visiting the Great Buddha and when you exist the main hall, look to your left and you will see a statue seated next to the building. It’s been said that if you rub on the statue and touch your body, you will be healed.