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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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------All our expectations were exceeded by far! Japan is an amazing country. From breath taking sky scrapers in Tokyo, to beautiful mountains, the very specil Snow Monkeys, old traditional Japan on the Nakasendo trail, the exotic food, the kindest friendliest people - and just so many more. Scott Kent from Experience Japan Travel is simply the best! From the 1st emails some months ago, I knew that this was going to be a very special experience. Scott's attention to detail, the prompt emails, very comprehensive detailed itinerary, website links and all the extra little bits of info made it an unforgettable trip. The choice, variety and locations of the accommodations were absolutely perfect and easily accessible from all the stations. We never felt lost or unsure of where to go or what to do. The itinerary was so well planned, with enough time to see and do. The guides with chartered Cars that you provided on the guided days were excellent, professional of high standard and caring. Ms Yuka in Tokyo was delightful, taught us a lot and was like a real mother hen - so concerned about all our travelling days by ourselves. Scott and Mr Nakagawa were so helpful in getting us to the doctor when Stef got ill. Ms Saiko is a knowledgeable easy going and caring tour guide. It was such a privilege that we could meet Scott in person. The day in Kyoto - although cold and wet was a high light of the trip. Kosanji Temple and surrounds touched our souls. Your easy way of going around with clients, passion for what you do, and sharing knowledge made it a fantastic experience. I've dealt with various travel companies before but I must say - Experience Japan Travel is in a league of its own. This was surely one of our best organized trips - to a country so far and different to anything else - it was just magic! Japan is a must see destination! - and we will be back to see the many other faces of Japan. Best regards Stef & Inamarie Greyson... READ MORE

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