Tour of Japan: Nara Prefecture

Posted on by

Nara (奈良県, Nara-ken) 

Nara Prefecture is a landlocked prefecture located on the east-central area of Honshū in the middle of the Kii Peninsula .  It is part of the Kansai region of Japan. Its historical name is Heiankyō and dates back to 794.  This region is considered to be the cradle of Japanese civilization since it has been in existence for thousands of years.  Historically, it was known as Yamato-no-kuni or Yamato Province.  Many early Japanese emperors built their palaces in this prefecture.  In 1720 Heijō-kyō (Nara City) became Japan’s first permanent capital.  Today it has a population of 1.3 million people and a land mass of 3,691 square kilometers.  It is bordered by Kyōto, Ōsaka, Wakayama, and Mie Prefectures.  There are three World Heritage sites in Nara.  The warmest month is August with an average maximum temperature of 92°F, and the coldest month is January with an average maximum temperature of 49°F.  Its area code is 0742, and its country code 81.  Its time zone is UT+9 (Japan Standard Time), and the Japanese Yen is its currency.

Nara-shi is the capital city of the Nara Prefecture.  It celebrated its 1300th anniversary in 2010.   It has a population of approximately 367,393 people in 2020-2021. It is known for its traditional Japanese cultural sites with many ancient Japanese Buddhist buildings and artifacts, beautiful gardens, museums and traditional neighborhoods.  Kasuga-Taisha Shrine, the most important Shinto shrine, is known for its wisteria, winding pathways, 3,000+ stone lanterns and wandering deer. 

Nara (奈良県, Nara-ken) is famous for: 

Tōdau-ji – Buddhist temple complex with a 500-ton, 16-meter high, bronze statue of Buddha (Nara Daibutsu), largest Buddha statue in the world

The Tōdau-ji bronze statue of Buddha is housed in the largest wooden building in the world

Isui-en Garden

Naramachi – Edo Period merchant quarter of shops, homes, cafes and ryokan (traditional Japanese inns)

Traditional Rice Porridge

Nara Green Tea Rice

Persimmon Leaf Sushi / Magnolia Leaf Sushi

Mehari Rice Balls

Somen Noodles / Boiled Noodles

Vinegar Persimmon