Nara, Kansai Region, Japan

History | Politics | Religion and temples | Modern Nara | Geography | Demographics | Buddhist temples | Shinto shrines | Former imperial palace | Museums | Gardens | Landmarks : Other | Culture : Music | Events | Deer | Education : University : Primary and Secondary | Transport : Rail : Road

🇯🇵 Nara (奈良市) is the capital city of Nara Prefecture, Japan. It is the largest city in Nara Prefecture and sixth-largest in the Kansai region of Honshu. Nara is a core city located in the northern part of Nara Prefecture bordering the Kyoto Prefecture. Nara was the capital of Japan during the Nara period from 710 to 794 as the seat of the Emperor before the capital was moved to Kyoto. Nara is home to eight temples, shrines, and ruins, specifically Tōdai-ji, Saidai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangō-ji, Yakushi-ji, Tōshōdai-ji, and the Heijō Palace, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest, collectively form the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


History There are a number of megalithic tombs or kofun in Nara, including Gosashi Kofun, Hishiage Kofun (ヒシアゲ古墳), Horaisan Kofun (宝来山古墳), Konabe Kofun (コナベ古墳), Saki Ishizukayama Kofun (佐紀石塚山古墳), Saki Misasagiyama Kofun (佐紀陵山古墳), and Uwanabe Kofun (ウワナベ古墳).

By decree of an edict on March 11, 708 AD, Empress Genmei ordered the court to relocate to the new capital, Nara. Once known as Heijō or Heijō-kyō, the city was established as Japan's first permanent capital in 710 CE; it was the seat of government until 784 CE, albeit with a five-year interruption, lasting from 741 to 745 CE. Heijō, as the ‘penultimate court’, however, was abandoned by the order of Emperor Kammu in 784 CE in favor of the temporary site of Nagaoka, and then Heian-kyō (Kyoto) which retained the status of capital for 1,100 years, until the Meiji Emperor made the final move to Edo in 1869 CE. This first relocation was due to the court's transformation from an imperial nobility to a force of metropolitan elites and new technique of dynastic shedding which had refashioned the relationship between court, nobility, and country. Moreover, the ancient capital lent its name to Nara period.

As a reactionary expression to the political centralization of China, the city of Nara (Heijō) was modeled after the Tang capital at Chang’an. Nara was laid out on a grid—which was based upon the Handen system—whereby the city was divided by four great roads. Likewise, according to Chinese cosmology, the ruler's place was fixed like the pole star. By dominating the capital, the ruler brought heaven to earth. Thus, the south-facing palace centered at the north, bisected the ancient city, instituting ‘Right Capital’ and ‘Left Capital’ zones. As Nara came to be a centre of Buddhism in Japan and a prominent pilgrimage site, the city plan incorporated various pre-Heijō and Heijō period temples, of which the Yakushiji and the Todaiji still stand.


Politics A number of scholars have characterized the Nara period as a time of penal and administrative legal order. The Taihō Code called for the establishment of administrative sects underneath the central government, and modeled many of the codes from the Chinese Tang dynasty. The code eventually disbanded, but its contents were largely preserved in the Yōrō Code of 718.

Occupants of the throne during the period gradually shifted their focus from military preparation to religious rites and institutions, in an attempt to strengthen their divine authority over the population.


Religion and temples • Nanto Rokushū

With the establishment of the new capital, Asuka-dera, the temple of the Soga clan, was relocated within Nara. The Emperor Shōmu ordered the construction of Tōdai-ji Temple (largest wooden building in the world) and the world's largest bronze Buddha statue. The temples of Nara, known collectively as the Nanto Shichi Daiji, remained spiritually significant even beyond the move of the political capital to Heian-kyō in 794, thus giving Nara a synonym of Nanto (南都 "the southern capital").

On December 2, 724 AD, in order to increase the visual "magnificence" of the city, an edict was ordered by the government for the noblemen and the wealthy to renovate the roofs, pillars, and walls of their homes, although at that time this was unfeasible.

Sightseeing in Nara city became popular in the Edo period, during which several visitors' maps of Nara were widely published. During the Meiji Period, the Kofukuji Temple lost some land and its monks were converted into Shinto priests, due to Buddhism being associated with the old shogunate.


Modern Nara Although Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 794, it was not designated a city until 1 February 1898. Nara has since developed from a town of commerce in the Edo and Meiji periods to a modern tourist city, due to its large number of historical temples, landmarks and national monuments. Nara was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in December 1998. The architecture of some shops, ryokans and art galleries has been adapted from traditional merchant houses.

Nara holds traditional festivals every year, including the Neri-Kuyo Eshiki, a spring festival held in Todaiji temple for over 1,000 years; and the Kemari Festival, in which people wear costumes ranging across 700 years and play traditional games).

In 1909, Tatsuno Kingo designed the Nara Hotel, whose architecture combined modern elements with traditional Japanese style.


Geography The city of Nara lies in the northern end of Nara Prefecture, directly bordering Kyoto Prefecture to its north. The city is 22.22 km (13.81 mi) from North to South, from East to West. As a result of the latest merger, effective April 1, 2005, that combined the villages of Tsuge and Tsukigase with the city of Nara, the city now borders Mie Prefecture directly to its east. The total area is 276.84 km² (106.89 sq mi).

Nara city, as well as several important settlements (such as Kashihara, Yamatokōriyama, Tenri, Yamatotakada, Sakurai and Goze), are located in the Nara Basin. This makes it the most densely-populated region of Nara Prefecture.

The downtown of Nara is on the east side of the ancient Heijō Palace site, occupying the northern part of what was called the Gekyō (外京), literally the outer capital area. Many of the public offices (e.g. the Municipal office, the Nara Prefectural government, the Nara Police headquarters, etc.) are located on Nijō-ōji (二条大路), while Nara branch offices of major nationwide banks are on Sanjō-ōji (三条大路), with both avenues running east–west.

The highest point in the city is at the peak of Kaigahira-yama at an altitude of 822.0 m (2,696.85 ft) (Tsugehayama-cho district), and the lowest is in Ikeda-cho district, with an altitude of 56.4 m (185.04 ft).


Demographics As of April 1, 2017, the city has an estimated population density of 1,300 persons per km². There were 160,242 households residing in Nara. The highest concentration of both households and population, respectively about 46,000 and 125,000, is found along the newer bedtown districts, along the Kintetsu line connecting to Osaka.

There were about 3,000 registered foreigners in the city, of which Koreans and Chinese are the two largest groups with about 1,200 and 800 people respectively.


Buddhist temples • Tōdai-ji, including Nigatsu-dō and Shōsōin • Saidai-ji • Kōfuku-ji • Gangō-ji • Yakushi-ji • Tōshōdai-ji • Shin-Yakushi-ji • Akishino-dera • Byakugō-ji • Daian-ji • Enjō-ji • Enshō-ji • Futai-ji • Hannya-ji • Hokke-ji • Kikō-ji • Ryōsen-ji • Shōryaku-ji


Shinto shrines • Himuro Shrine • Kasuga Shrine • Tamukeyama Hachiman Shrine


Former imperial palace • Heijō Palace


Museums • Nara National Museum • Nara Municipal Buried Cultural Properties Research Centre • Nara City Historical Materials Preservation House • Nara Prefectural Museum of Art • Irie Taikichi Memorial Museum of Photography Nara City • Nakano Museum of Art • Neiraku Museum • Shōhaku Art Museum • Yamato Bunkakan


Gardens • Former Daijō-in Gardens (旧大乗院庭園) • Isuien Garden • Kyūseki Teien • Manyo Botanical Garden, Nara • Yoshiki-en • Yagyū Iris Garden, Nara (柳生花しょうぶ園)


Landmarks: Other • Naramachi • Nara Park • Nara Hotel • Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties • Yagyū • Zutō (頭塔)


Culture: Music • Tipsy night, a rock band from Nara, contributed the theme song for the Naruto: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! 4 (僕の愛してるだれもいない) games


Events • Nara Marathon • Nara Centennial Hall • Nara Kasugano International Forum Iraka • Shuni-e


Deer According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, the god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Since then, the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country.

Tame sika deer (also known as spotted deer or Japanese deer) roam through the town, especially in Nara Park. In 2015, there were more than 1,200 sika deer in Nara. Snack vendors sell sika senbei (deer crackers) to visitors so they can feed the deer. Some deer have learned to bow in order to receive senbei from people.

A 2009 study by Harumi Torii (who is the assistant professor of wildlife management at Nara University of Education,) in which necropsies of deceased shika deer in Nara park were conducted, found that the deer in Nara park were malnourished from not having enough grass to eat, and eating too many rice crackers and other human food. The rice crackers commonly fed to the deer lack fiber and other nutrients deer require, so when the deer eat too many rice crackers it causes the gut microbiome in the deer to become unbalanced, among other problems. 7 out of 8 deer dissected had a “kidney fat index” (which measures how much fat has attached to the kidneys) below 40%, which indicates malnutrition in the deer. And of those 7, some had kidney fat below 10%, which indicates starvation. Compared to male shika deer outside of Nara park, which weigh about 50 kilograms on average, the male shika deer in Nara park only weigh 30 kilograms on average. The color of the femoral marrow in Nara park’s deer was also abnormal, indicating malnourishment. When living deer in Nara park were observed during the study, it was discovered that rice crackers made up about one third of the average deer’s diet in Nara park, with grass making up about two thirds. The deer have become so excessively numerous in Nara park, that there isn’t enough grass in the park for all of them to live entirely on grass, creating a dependency on humans for rice crackers. This lack of grass also causes the deer to resort to eating garbage and plants that they wouldn’t normally eat. The deer in Nara park have become overpopulated due to being fed by people frequently, and having few predators. And the deer have caused extensive damage to trees (by feeding on bark,) bamboo (by eating their shoots,) and other plants in the park. Additionally, the deer have become aggressive towards humans in their solicitation of food (which leads to people getting injured by deer,) aggressive towards each other in competition for rice crackers, and have lost their fear of predators in general. For these reasons, tourists may want to consider not feeding the deer in Nara park, and simply observe them instead.


Education As of 2005, there are 16 high schools and 6 universities located in the city of Nara.


Education: University Nara Women's University is one of only two national women's universities in Japan. Nara Institute of Science and Technology is a graduate research university specialising in biological, information, and materials sciences.


Education: Primary and Secondary Public schools Public elementary and junior high schools are operated by the city of Nara.

Public high schools are operated by the Nara Prefecture.

Private schools Private high schools in Nara include the Tōdaiji Gakuen, a private school founded by the temple in 1926.


Transport: Rail The main central station of Nara is Kintetsu Nara Station with JR Nara station some 500m west and much closer to Shin-Omiya station. • West Japan Railway Company ◦ Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line): Narayama Station – Nara Station ◦ Sakurai Line (Manyō-Mahoroba Line): Nara Station – Kyōbate Station – Obitoke Station • Kintetsu Railway ◦ Nara Line: Tomio Station – Gakuen-mae Station – Ayameike Station – Yamato-Saidaiji Station – Shin-Ōmiya Station – Kintetsu Nara Station ◦ Kyoto Line: Takanohara Station – Heijō Station – Yamato-Saidaiji Station ◦ Kashihara Line: Yamato-Saidaiji Station – Amagatsuji Station – Nishinokyō Station ◦ Keihanna Line: Gakken Nara-Tomigaoka Station


Transport: Road • Expressways ◦ Keinawa Expressway (Under construction) ◦ Hanshin Expressway Dainihanna Route • Japan National Route 24 • Japan National Route 25 • Japan National Route 169 • Japan National Route 308 • Japan National Route 369 • Japan National Route 370.

Nara, Kansai Region, Japan 
<b>Nara, Kansai Region, Japan</b>
Image: DinkY2K

Nara has a population of over 359,666 people. Nara also forms the centre of the wider Nara Prefecture which has a population of over 1,321,805 people.

To set up a UBI Lab for Nara see: Twitter:

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Nara has links with:

🇦🇺 Canberra, Australia 🇯🇵 Dazaifu, Japan 🇰🇷 Gyeongju, South Korea 🇯🇵 Kōriyama, Japan 🇯🇵 Obama, Japan 🇺🇿 Samarkand, Uzbekistan 🇯🇵 Tagajō, Japan 🇪🇸 Toledo, Spain 🇯🇵 Usa, Japan 🇫🇷 Versailles, France 🇨🇳 Xi'an, China 🇨🇳 Yangzhou, China

Nara is a member of the OWHC: Organization of World Heritage Cities with: 🇮🇱 Acre 🇳🇪 Agadez 🇮🇳 Ahmedabad 🇰🇿 Aktau 🇪🇸 Alcalá de Henares 🇸🇾 Aleppo 🇩🇿 Algiers 🇮🇳 Amber 🇮🇳 Amer 🇺🇸 Amsterdam 🇳🇱 Amsterdam 🇺🇸 Amsterdam 🇰🇷 Andong 🇵🇹 Angra do Heroísmo 🇱🇰 Anuradhapura 🇪🇸 Aranjuez 🇵🇪 Arequipa 🇩🇪 Augsburg 🇪🇸 Avila 🇪🇸 Baeza 🇮🇷 Bam 🇩🇪 Bamberg 🇸🇰 Banská Štiavnica 🇸🇰 Bardejov 🇬🇧 Bath 🇺🇸 Bath 🇳🇱 Beemster 🇧🇷 Belo Horizonte 🇹🇷 Bergama 🇳🇴 Bergen 🇳🇱 Bergen 🇺🇸 Berlin 🇩🇪 Berlin 🇺🇸 Berlin 🇺🇸 Berlin 🇨🇭 Bern 🇩🇪 Bernau bei Berlin 🇳🇵 Bhaktapur 🇷🇴 Biertan 🇰🇷 Boeun 🇷🇺 Bolgar 🇫🇷 Bordeaux 🇧🇷 Brasília 🇧🇧 Bridgetown 🇧🇪 Bruges 🇧🇪 Brussels 🇭🇺 Budapest 🇹🇷 Bursa 🇰🇷 Buyeo 🇪🇸 Cáceres 🇪🇬 Cairo 🇨🇺 Camaguey 🇲🇽 Campeche 🇫🇷 Carcassonne 🇨🇴 Cartagena 🇪🇸 Cartagena 🇨🇿 Český Krumlov 🇨🇳 Chengde 🇨🇻 Cidade Velha 🇵🇹 Coimbra 🇺🇾 Colonia del Sacramento 🇲🇽 Córdoba 🇦🇷 Córdoba 🇪🇸 Córdoba 🇻🇪 Coro 🇪🇸 Cuenca 🇪🇨 Cuenca 🇲🇽 Cuernavaca 🇵🇪 Cusco 🇸🇳 Dakar 🇸🇾 Damascus 🇮🇩 Denpasar 🇷🇺 Derbent 🇩🇪 Dessau 🇧🇷 Diamantina 🇹🇷 Diyarbakır 🇭🇷 Dubrovnik 🇨🇳 Dujiangyan 🇬🇧 Edinburgh 🇦🇲 Ejmiatsin 🇵🇹 Elvas 🇮🇶 Erbil 🇲🇦 Essaouira 🇵🇹 Évora 🇲🇦 Fez 🇫🇷 Fontainebleau 🇺🇾 Fray Bentos 🇱🇰 Galle 🇰🇾 George Town 🇲🇾 George Town 🇱🇾 Ghadames 🇩🇿 Ghardaïa 🇮🇩 Gianyar 🇰🇷 Gochang County 🇰🇷 Gongju 🇦🇲 Goris City 🇳🇮 Granada 🇪🇸 Granada 🇨🇮 Grand-Bassam 🇦🇹 Graz 🇪🇸 Guadalajara 🇲🇽 Guadalajara 🇲🇽 Guanajuato 🇵🇹 Guimarães 🇰🇷 Gwangju 🇰🇷 Gyeongju 🇰🇷 Haenam 🇩🇪 Hamburg 🇰🇷 Hapcheon County 🇪🇹 Harar Jugol 🇨🇺 Havana 🇻🇳 Hoi An 🇻🇳 Huế 🇰🇷 Hwasun County 🇪🇸 Ibiza 🇦🇿 Icherisheher 🇰🇷 Iksan 🇹🇷 Istanbul 🇸🇦 Jeddah 🇺🇸 Jerusalem 🇮🇱 Jerusalem 🇰🇷 Jongno-Gu 🇹🇳 Kairouan 🇱🇰 Kandy 🇮🇩 Karangasem 🇸🇪 Karlskrona 🇳🇵 Kathmandu 🇷🇺 Kazan 🇺🇿 Khiva 🇩🇰 Kolding 🇹🇷 Konya 🇲🇪 Kotor 🇵🇱 Kraków 🇨🇿 Kutná Hora 🇯🇵 Kyōto 🇳🇵 Lalitpur 🇰🇪 Lamu 🇫🇷 Le Havre 🇫🇯 Levuka 🇨🇳 Lijiang 🇵🇪 Lima 🇱🇦 Luang Prabang 🇩🇪 Lübeck 🇨🇦 Lunenburg 🇱🇺 Luxembourg City 🇺🇦 Lviv 🇫🇷 Lyon 🇲🇴 Macau 🇲🇾 Malacca City 🇲🇦 Marrakesh 🇲🇦 Meknes 🇻🇪 Mérida 🇲🇽 Mérida 🇪🇸 Mérida 🇲🇽 Mexico City 🇵🇭 Miagao 🇮🇹 Modena 🇰🇪 Mombasa 🇫🇷 Mont-Saint-Michel 🇲🇽 Morelia 🇷🇺 Moscow 🇺🇸 Moscow 🇧🇦 Mostar 🇲🇿 Mozambique 🇧🇭 Muharraq 🇫🇷 Nancy 🇩🇪 Naumburg 🇧🇬 Nessebar 🇳🇴 Notodden 🇲🇽 Oaxaca 🇲🇰 Ohrid 🇧🇷 Olinda 🇧🇷 Ouro Preto 🇺🇸 Oviedo 🇪🇸 Oviedo 🇮🇹 Padula 🇮🇹 Palazzolo Acreide 🇵🇦 Panama City 🇫🇷 Paris 🇺🇸 Paris 🇺🇸 Paris 🇬🇷 Patmos 🇺🇸 Philadelphia 🇵🇹 Porto 🇧🇴 Potosí 🇩🇪 Potsdam 🇺🇸 Potsdam 🇨🇿 Prague 🇫🇷 Provins 🇲🇽 Puebla 🇲🇲 Pyay 🇨🇦 Québec 🇩🇪 Quedlinburg 🇲🇽 Querétaro 🇪🇨 Quito 🇲🇦 Rabat 🇫🇮 Rauma 🇩🇪 Regensburg 🇬🇷 Rhodes 🇱🇻 Riga 🇵🇪 Rímac 🇧🇷 Rio de Janeiro 🇳🇱 Rotterdam 🇳🇴 Røros 🇹🇷 Safranbolu 🇷🇺 Saint Petersburg 🇫🇷 Saint-Louis 🇪🇸 Salamanca 🇧🇷 Salvador 🇦🇹 Salzburg 🇺🇸 San Antonio 🇨🇱 San Antonio 🇮🇨 San Cristóbal de La Laguna 🇮🇹 San Gimignano 🇲🇽 San Miguel de Allende 🇲🇽 San Pablo Villa de Mitla 🇾🇪 Sanaa 🇨🇴 Santa Cruz de Mompox 🇪🇸 Santiago de Compostela 🇧🇷 São Luís 🇪🇸 Segovia 🇹🇷 Selçuk 🇰🇷 Seongbuk 🇾🇪 Shibam 🇷🇴 Sighișoara 🇸🇬 Singapore 🇵🇹 Sintra 🇹🇳 Sousse 🇭🇷 Split 🇧🇲 St George's 🇸🇪 Stockholm 🇩🇪 Stralsund 🇫🇷 Strasbourg 🇧🇴 Sucre 🇮🇩 Surakarta 🇰🇷 Suwon 🇷🇺 Suzdal 🇨🇳 Suzhou 🇪🇪 Tallinn 🇪🇸 Tarragona 🇮🇱 Tel Aviv 🇨🇿 Telč 🇬🇧 Telford 🇲🇦 Tétouan 🇲🇱 Timbuktu 🇳🇴 Tinn 🇲🇽 Tlacotalpan 🇧🇷 Toledo 🇺🇸 Toledo 🇵🇭 Toledo 🇪🇸 Toledo 🇵🇱 Toruń 🇨🇿 Třebíč 🇨🇺 Trinidad 🇭🇷 Trogir 🇭🇳 Trujillo 🇵🇪 Trujillo 🇹🇳 Tunis 🇰🇿 Turkistan 🇪🇸 Úbeda 🇲🇹 Valletta 🇨🇱 Valparaíso 🇻🇦 Vatican City 🇷🇺 Veliky Novgorod 🇺🇸 Vienna 🇺🇸 Vienna 🇦🇹 Vienna 🇵🇭 Vigan 🇱🇹 Vilnius 🇳🇴 Vinje 🇸🇪 Visby 🇵🇱 Warsaw 🇺🇸 Warsaw 🇨🇼 Willemstad 🇩🇪 Wismar 🇲🇽 Xochimilco 🇰🇷 Yangsan 🇷🇺 Yaroslavl 🇮🇷 Yazd 🇰🇷 Yeongju 🇦🇲 Yerevan 🇾🇪 Zabid 🇲🇽 Zacatecas 🇵🇱 Zamość 🇹🇿 Zanzibar City

Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

South of: 34.683

🇲🇦 Oujda 34.679

🇩🇿 Djelfa 34.667

🇨🇾 Limassol 34.667

🇯🇵 Sōja 34.667

🇯🇵 Tahara 34.667

🇮🇷 Qom 34.655

🇯🇵 Okayama 34.651

🇯🇵 Seikibashi 34.65

🇯🇵 Yamatokōriyama 34.65

🇯🇵 Akashi 34.65

East of: 135.8

🇯🇵 Tenri 135.833

🇦🇺 Port Lincoln 135.85

🇯🇵 Sakurai 135.856

🇯🇵 Ōtsu 135.895

🇯🇵 Kusatsu 135.967

🇯🇵 Moriyama 135.983

🇯🇵 Tsuruga 136.072

🇯🇵 Nabari 136.095

🇯🇵 Ōmihachiman 136.098

🇯🇵 Iga 136.133

West of: 135.8

🇯🇵 Uji 135.799

🇯🇵 Kashihara 135.799

🇯🇵 Yamatokōriyama 135.783

🇯🇵 Kyōto 135.768

🇯🇵 Jōyō 135.767

🇯🇵 Katsuragi 135.733

🇯🇵 Ikaruga 135.733

🇯🇵 Yawata 135.7

🇯🇵 Nagaokakyō 135.694

🇯🇵 Mukō 135.683

Antipodal to Nara is: -44.2,-34.683

Locations Near: Nara 135.8,34.6833

🇯🇵 Yamatokōriyama 135.783,34.65 d: 4  

🇯🇵 Ikaruga 135.733,34.617 d: 9.6  

🇯🇵 Tenri 135.833,34.583 d: 11.5  

🇯🇵 Katano 135.683,34.783 d: 15.4  

🇯🇵 Higashiōsaka 135.645,34.645 d: 14.8  

🇯🇵 Jōyō 135.767,34.85 d: 18.8  

🇯🇵 Sakurai 135.856,34.511 d: 19.9  

🇯🇵 Kashihara 135.799,34.498 d: 20.6  

🇯🇵 Neyagawa 135.629,34.764 d: 18  

🇯🇵 Kashiwara 135.633,34.583 d: 18.9  

Antipodal to: Nara -44.2,-34.683

🇧🇷 Tubarão -49,-28.467 d: 19188  

🇧🇷 Criciúma -49.372,-28.678 d: 19187.5  

🇧🇷 Viamão -51.023,-30.088 d: 19196  

🇧🇷 Gravataí -50.983,-29.933 d: 19187.6  

🇧🇷 Santa Catarina -48.5,-27.6 d: 19127.8  

🇧🇷 Alvorada -51.079,-30.001 d: 19185.6  

🇧🇷 Rio Grande -52.099,-32.041 d: 19225.2  

🇧🇷 Palhoça -48.667,-27.633 d: 19123.6  

🇧🇷 São José -48.617,-27.6 d: 19122.6  

🇧🇷 Cachoeirinha -51.083,-29.95 d: 19181.6  

Bing Map

Option 1