With one train every 45 minutes from Kyoto Statio
n, Nara is an easy “one-day” trip
from Kyoto. Express trains
( from track N° 8,9 or 10) depart roughly three times a day, though most trains are local and take over one hour. The first train actually leaves at 9.09 am but if you are not in a hurry try to take a local train and consider stopping off along the way at one or more of the places described below.
0 KM - KYOTO STATION
1KM - 0h03 - TOFUKU-JI
One of the Kyoto’s largest Zen monastories, home to a famous five-storey pagoda and to a beautiful garden is a few minutes away from the station, head south-east.
3 KM - 0H05 - INARI
The orange-lacquered torii (shrine gate) right outside the station marks the entrance of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, where thousands of other torii aligned to form a tunnel await the visitors. This place was featured in the film Memoirs of a Geisha. Visits are free and the temple is open from dawn to dusk everyday. Walk through the torii ascending Mt. Inari to reach the temple ‘observation point and have an impressive view of Kyoto’ s skyline. We need to add that there are numerous statues of the Kitsune or White fox, guardian of the Shrine and its god, Inari-okami. They are very cute and mark the entrance.
15 km - 0h17 - UJI
This well known tea-producing area (since the 13 th century) is mentioned in one of Japan’s most famous novels, the Tale of Genji. Head for the river Uji-Gawa by turning left as you leave the station and then go straight to reach Uji Bridge, first build by a Budhist priest in 646 and mentioned in the Tale of Genji. From the bridge you can reach the nearby Byodo-in Temple, with its phoenix-shapped hall and its large Buddha Statue.
42 km - 0H45 - NARA
Nara Koen has all the city ‘s popular sites. Even so, the park is big enough to accommodate thousands of giggling schoolchildren and other Japanese tourists, yet still feel spacious and quiet. Be warned that it is home to divine messengers of gods – the tame deer can be seen just about everywhere in the park. The Todai-ji is a temple complex that was conceived by Emperor Shomu in the 8th century as the seat of the authority for Buddhist Japan.
GUEST HOUSE SAKURAYA
1 Narukawa-cho,Nara, 630-8335
Tel : 07-4224-1490 / www.guesthouse-sakuraya.com/en_about
The owner of Sakuraya will give you lots of useful information on how to explore and experience Nara like a local. You will have the Japanese experience of sleeping on a futon in a Japanese room.
SUNROUTE HOTEL NARA
1110, Takabatakecho, Nara, 630-8301
Tel : 0742-22-5151/ https://www.sunroute-nara.co.jp/en
Conveniently close to Nara Park and with distance to Nara‘s major sightseeing spots, this hotel has a fine restaurant with typical meals of the region.
Open daily, 11 am to 2.30pm and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m
Tel : 07-4224-1470 / https://narakko.jp/hiyori/
A restaurant focusing on fresh vegetables served in a big lunch sets. From Nara Station, take the East Exit then walk south down the main road past the post office and take a left. Hiyori is on the right , a 5-minute walk past the first traffic light.
Open daily 11 am to 10 p.m.
Tel : 07 4220 4400 / http://r.gnavi.co.jp/k471700/lang/en
A popular restaurant serving many kinds of lunches but specializing in eel. From Nara Station, take the east exit, then walk south down the main road past the post office and take left. Edogawa is on the left, a 5 minutes walk the first traffic light.
To reach the temples you can take a bus in front of the station ( East Exit). It is the Nara Kotsu Loop bus. There are 3 types of passes : 1 day pass, 1 day pass wide and a 2 day passes.To reach the Heijo Palace Site, the bus departure is on the West Side of the Station.