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Nara (Nara Prefecture)

Japan’s first Capitol Heijokyo, with a palace and administrative buildings, was established near what is now Nara City. Nara was the first Capitol to seat an Emperor, and this lasted from 710 to 794. Much of the original buildings of Nara, was influenced by China.

Japans first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara. As the influence and political ambitions of the city's powerful Buddhist monasteries grew to become a serious threat to the government, the capital was moved to Nagaoka (Kyoto) in 784.
Nara is located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest and largest temples and Buddhist Statues. The Deer park in Nara is also very popular with adults and children alike.

Many Overseas Visitor's spend half a day in Nara and then return to either Kyoto or Osaka.  With half a day, you will generally be able to see the World Heritage Sites of Todaiji Temple which is the largest Wooden Structure in Japan, and houses the largest Buddha Statue (Daibutsu OR Great Buddha) of Japan which stands at 15 meters tall.  You can then walk through Nara Park to Kasuga Taisha Shrine to see all the lanterns. Finally, a visit to the Kohfukuji Temple will allow you to enter the Japanese National Treasure Hall to see some impressive Buddha Statues. 

However, Nara gives any visitor a nice chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of other cities if you decide to stay over night.  By staying a night at Nara, will let you explore Nara City in more depth. 
Located approx.30 minutes from Nara Station is the very important Horyuji Temple, which was believed to be built by Shotoku Taishi in 607. It is the oldest wooden building in Japan, and has over 55 architectual National Treasures.  

Not only the central area of Nara, but if you want to be a little more adventurous, you can head further inland and reach the very rural but relaxing Yoshino area of Nara. This is a great area to come, especially if you are wanting to get away from the crowds and into nature. A popular area for the Sakura Cherry Blossom trees, but in other months you can relax with maybe not seeing any other Overseas Visitor.

There are also some great hiking and nature walks close to central Nara as well as in the Yoshino area.

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After offering my nephew a trip for his college graduation present, and he accepted, I could not have asked for a better experience than the one I had using Exprience Japan Travel. Working together, mostly Amandine working, an itinerary that included the things that my nephew was really interested in was put together. I had been to Japan several times before, so this really was his trip. Although, I had never attended a sumo match on previous trips, it was a highlight for both of us. The ceremony and fan participation was awesome to watch and by the end, we were as involved as everyone else! Amandine gave me so many great suggestions and the best one was to send the luggage on to the next hotel and not have to maneuver big suitcases on the Shinkansen. Thank you, thank you for that one! One thing that I was particularly pleased with were the excellent personal guides that Amandine organized for us. We had Mina in Tokyo and had so much fun with her. Amandine had organized a private sushi class for us and Mina took loads of photos of us while we prepared our sushi. I must admit we did not have to debone the beautiful yellow fin tuna, that was done in front of us and then we started the lesson and feasted on a beautiful meal. My nephew is a huge Japanese food fan so everyday was a great day! In Kyoto, we had a fabulous guide, Katsue, I can’t complement her enough. My nephew is a history major and he really soaked up a lot of history of Japan while we were traveling around the Kyoto area with Katsue. Hiroshima we did on our own. Self explanatory history lesson there. In Osaka we met up with Amandine and we had such fun with her. My nephew wanted Takoyaki and she took us right to a place for some street food Takoyaki. Next, DinDin City for some anime shopping which was definitely a topic that my nephew and Amandine could share. I was so pleased that she knew about anime, I knew nothing. The one thing that I would do differently is take fewer clothes and then I wouldn’t have had to purchase another suitcase to get all my treasures back home!! One last time, I would like to complement Amandine on her ability to connect with her clients and to show them all the best that Japan has to offer, which is a lot.... READ MORE

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