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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Japan: Visiting Nara (奈良) in One or Two Days

If you plan to visit Kyoto (京都), you may want to plan a 1-to-2-day's side trip to Nara (奈良). Assuming you do, here is a plan for you to consider.





Todaiji (東大寺)


You can visit Todaiji Temple, Nara Park and its surrounding gardens and temples in one or two days. If you're also in the season, you may also view the splendor of autumn colors as reported here. The plan is as follows:
  • Train Stations
  • Kofukuji (興福寺outstanding
    • Kofukuji is a five minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, or a 20 minute walk from JR Nara Station.
    • Kofukuji's pagoda is both a landmark and symbol of Nara.
  • Yoshikien (吉城園outstanding
    • 10 minute walk away Kofukuji Temple
    • The entry fee to the garden is waived for foreign tourists.
    • A visit to Yoshikien provides the opportunity to see three different variations of Japanese gardens in one spot.[27]
  • Isuien (依水園outstanding
    • If visitors still want to see more techniques of Japanese gardening, the Isuien Garden is located just across the small river to Yoshikien Garden (10 mins walk away).
  • Todaiji (東大寺best of the best
  • Nara Park (奈良公園outstanding
  • Naramachi (奈良町 or literally "Nara Town")
    • Former merchant district with old houses.
    • Boutiques, shops, cafes, restaurants and a few museums now line the district's narrow lanes.
  • More What-to-sees

Arriving Nara from  KIX


There are three options of arriving Nara from Kansai International Airport (KIX) depending on whether you use JR Pass or not (thanks to Hiroko for her feedback).
  • With JR Pass (~ 1 hr and 18 mins)
    • KIX
      • Take JR  trains
    • Tennoji (天王寺)
      • Arrival track No.18 / Departure track No.16 (Warning: this information may differ)
    • JR Nara Station (奈良駅)
  • Without JR Pass
    • Option #1 (~ 1 hr and 40 mins)
      • KIX
        • Take Nankai Line (KIX関空 →Namba難波)
      • NAMBA(NANKAI) Station
        • Walk (12 mins)
      • OSAKA-NAMBA Station (大阪難波)
        • Take Kintetsu Nara Line (Namba大阪難波 →Nara近鉄奈良)
      • Kintetsu-Nara Station (近鉄奈良駅) 
    • Option #2 (~ 1 + ½hours)
      • Take a Limousine bus   KIX → Nara 

References

  1. Nara (Japan-guide.com)
  2. Nara Travel Guide
  3. Japan Rail Pass
  4. Japan Rail Group
  5. Public toilets in Japan
    • "Public toilets are usually readily available all over Japan, and can be found in department stores, supermarkets, book stores, CD shops, parks, most convenience stores, and in all but the most rural train stations."
    • Carry some toilets just in case.
  6. Nara (Wikitravel)
  7. Nara Deer visit the temple - Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands: Episode 1 Preview - BBC Two (video)
  8. Nara Walk (JNTO; good)
  9. Hyperdia (good)
    • "HyperDia" is a service which offers the route and the timetable of the railway and the aviation of Japan.
  10. Access to Nara from Osaka by Japan Railway, Yamatoji Rapid Service
  11. Nara (奈良) to Kyoto (京都)
    • Kintetsu-Nara Station (近鉄奈良駅
      • Take Kintetsu Kyoto Line Exp.  for Kyoto (51 mins)
  12. Kyoto Dream Trips (photos)
  13. Rail Passes for the Kansai Region (important)
    • A myriad of tickets and rail passes are available to help tourists save some money
  14. Cherry Blossoms Around Japan: Mt. Fuji and Nara (video)
  15. Mount Yoshinoyama (japan-guide.com)
  16. Icoca & Haruka 
    • A discount ticket offer for foreign visitors who use Osaka's Kansai Airport. 
    • More details on JPRail.com
  17. Osaka: Which Namba Station? (Travel for a Purpose)
  18. Nara & Yagyu On the Road to the Sword of Peace (video)
  19. Hotels
  20. Osaka: Which Namba Station? (Travel for a Purpose)
  21. 12 Nara’s Temples and Shrines Flourishing with Vernal Flowers
  22. Nara: Tranquil temples and bountiful blooms (video)
  23. Japan Travel: One-Day Trip in Nara 日本奈良 (video)
  24. Todaiji (Japanology; video)
  25. 50 things to do in Nara, Japan’s Oldest Capital
  26. Weather forecast (Japan Meteorological Agency)
  27. Visiting Yoshiki-en Garden (吉城園 / よしきえん) in Nara—Personal Experience (Travel for a Purpose)
  28. Visiting Nigatsudo Hall (二月堂) in Nara—Personal Experience  (Travel for a Purpose)

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