Nara Journals

Main Attractions in Nara, Japan

A July 2004 trip to Nara by Shannon Schiner

Nara Park Photo, Nara, Japan More Photos
Quote: Nara is most well known for its Todaiji Temple with and Kasuga Shrine. Both sites are well worth a visit!

Main Attractions in Nara, Japan

Overview

Nara's Famous Todai-Ji Temple Photo, Nara, Japan
Quote:
Nara is a fantastic place to visit to gain insight into life in Japan in the 8th century, which marked the beginning of changes for the country. As the capital of Japan, Nara has many fascinating historical places of interest. As the center for the national government from 710 to 784, the area prospered and was able to afford a variety of cultural masterpieces. The sights include temples, shrines and even the remains of the excavated Imperial Palace. Do not miss Nara Park, it is here that you will find both the Todai-ji Temple (with the Great Buddha) and the Kasuga Shrine. These are sights that you definitely do not want to miss while in the area. Quick Tips: Nara is a popular d...Read More

Nara Park

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Nara Park Photo, Nara, Japan
Quote:
The largest park in Nara, this is the place to go if you want to see many of the main attractions in the area. Inside the park are Todai-ji, the Kasuga Shrine and the Nara National Museum. One of the most interesting things in the park are the hundreds of deer that roam freely throughout the area. Apparently the deer have been designated as a National Treasure. The deer are actually quite tame and accustomed to tourists feeding them…so they often come over and take a nibble out of anything they perceive as food! This is highly entertaining to watch, especially when an unsuspecting visitor has a sandwich. The deer are very perseverant and I watched as they chased more than one tourist in searc...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 21, 2004

Nara Park

Nara, Japan

Todai-ji Complex

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Attraction | "Todai-ji Temple with Great Buddha"

Todai-ji Complex Photo, Nara, Japan
Quote:
In the 7th century, Buddhism rapidly spread through Japan after monks from Korea introduced the faith to Japanese royalty. Towards the end of the century Emperor Temmu ordered every family to have a Buddhist altar. After his reign, the next in line ruled that in addition to the family altars, every province should have a temple. In addition, he decided to build a national temple to act as a headquarters for all of the provincial temples. Todai-ji was built to serve this purpose. It is truly an awesome sight, with the Great Buddha Hall perfectly built on a grand scale! Although the building housing the Great Buddha has burned down on a couple of occasions, it has been rebuilt. The last time it ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 21, 2004

Todai-ji Complex
Nara Park
Nara, Japan

Kasuga Taisha

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Attraction | "Kasuga Shrine"

Kasuga Taisha Photo, Nara, Japan
Quote:
Walking up the lantern-lined pathways in Nara Park towards the Kasuga Shrine is an unforgettable experience. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be on the special evenings when they light the 2,000+ stone lanterns and an additional 1,000 lanterns that are hung from the trees for these special occasions. The lanterns are only lit two times per year, once on February 3 to signify the coming of spring and during a second period in mid-August to honor the dead. The lanterns are donated by benefactors of the shrine; families basically pay to build the lantern and then make annual donations to the temple to keep their name on the lantern. It is not an inexpensive honor! As you walk up the pathway ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 21, 2004

Kasuga Taisha

Nara, Japan

Noh Theater

Attraction

Quote:
Nara’s new Public Hall is located in Nara Park. Inside the public hall is a Noh Theater, in the traditional style. While I was visiting the halls of the building had an exhibit showcasing several of the costumes for the Noh Theater. Noh is one of the classical forms of Japanese theater, dating back approximately 700 years. It is centered on ancient Shinto rites, even the stage has a roof that looks like the roof of one of the shrines. The main actors wear masks and beautiful costumes, which are magnificent to see on stage (not only in the exhibit in the hallways in the Public Hall). It is really interesting to see this form of theater, as I have not seen anything like it elsewhere! Ticket pric...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 21, 2004

Noh Theater
Nara New Public Hall
Nara, Japan

About the Writer

Shannon Schiner

Shannon Schiner
Miami, Florida