fbpx

Our Favorite Things to do in Nara

By  Ava McKee | September 20, 2022

A singular shika deer, the type of deer that Nara is known for, stands under a tree looking past you into the distance

A trip to Nara should be on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit in their lifetime! Its ability to provide you with an incredible trip and a look into Japan’s history is unmatched. Many Buddhist sculptures and temples were erected and stand as just some of the interesting sights. Of course, one of the best things to do in Nara is visit a restaurant and eat delicious food! While you can find all kinds of cuisine in Nara, one of the best options is to go to a Japanese restaurant and eat a meal that was brought to you from thousands of years of Japanese creativity and innovation! You should continue scrolling as this article covers the history, the best restaurants, and even the best places to take photos in Nara!

This article is part of our extensive series on Learning About Japan through Online Lessons at Japan Switch.

ebook on tablet

Stop wasting time.

Download your free copy of 29 TIPS + TRICKS TO HACK THE JLPT today and start preparing for the JLPT the right way!

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Why Nara is Worth the Trip

     

    Nara prefecture is located in the Kansai region and was the first imperial capital of Japan! The Nara Period lasted from 710 to 794 and the capital was mainly modeled after the Chinese T’ang Dynasty. The result of this Chinese influence is a deep and rich culture in Nara that features a unique mix of Japan and China. 

    There was an intermingling of the Japanese and Chinese language which gave birth to many interesting writings, such the Koji-ki and the Nihon Shoki, two early chronicles of Japan, or the Kaifudo and the Manyo-shu, two books of Japanese poetry, all written in Chinese characters. Nara is incredibly rich with legendary historical art and architecture. It is home to more than half of Japan’s sculptures and a total of 64 buildings that are qualified as National Treasures. Many of these date back to the 12th century to as early as before the 8th century! It would be incorrect to say that this is not one of the first places to visit in Japan if you want to know more about the history of Japan! 

    Nara is a hub not only of historical pieces but also of unique Japanese cuisine. Because it was the first capital city, it once was the center of all the best merchants and produce, and invited commoners all the way to aristocrats to come and create a diverse and special cuisine. There are many food specialists that say that Nara is the origin of true Japanese cuisine. Nara is surrounded by mountains and this had a great influence on some of the features of the food, and the Buddhist influence created several vegetarian specialties. Somen noodles came from China during the Nara period and led to the traditional dish called Miwa somen [traditional cold thin somen noodles served with soy sauce from the Miwa area].

    The most famous part of Nara cuisine is the narazuke, or the pickled dishes. Ginger, cucumber, gourd, and many more ingredients are pickled repeatedly in sake and sweetened with mirin vinegar and can be pickled for up to two years! Narazuke, historically a luxury ingredient, is now a staple part of every meal in Nara. There are a multitude of other specialties that separate the cuisine of Nara from that of Tokyo, and every one is worth checking out!

    5 Best Places to Eat in Nara

    Oryori Hanagaki

    Oryori Hanagaki is located in a 50 year old building and is one of the most exclusive restaurants at which you can eat. The only thing served is the Omakase Course which features  a meat dish made with rare Ozaki beef, and a bowl dish that features seafood and clear dashi. Everything served is focused on freshness and the seasonal ingredients of the area, and you can enjoy it in a Japanese style room while looking at the view of a beautiful courtyard! 

    The experience of eating here is incredible but you MUST plan ahead because it is so exclusive that the restaurant only takes one party for lunch and one party for dinner! You are required to make a reservation at least one day in advance, but I would suggest making a reservation as much in advance as possible. The Omakase course, as I mentioned above, is the only course offered and is priced at ¥20,000 for both lunch (12:00 pm - 3:00 pm) and dinner (6:00 pm - 10:00 pm). This is a perfect place to add to your list of things to do in Nara if you are someone who likes to treat themselves to exclusive traditional food experiences!

    Location: 2-13-2 Gakuen Minami, Nara, Nara, 631-0034, Japan

    Phone Number: 0742-45-1288

    Hours: Lunch (12:00 pm - 3:00 pm)  Dinner (6:00 pm - 10:00 pm)

    English Support: No

    Shunsai Hiyori

    Shunsai Hiyori is a great restaurant option because it offers multi-course set meals that have an emphasis on fresh and locally grown ingredients! The seasonal vegetables are made into colorful and creative meals and are also paired with various meat options. These options include beef steak, chicken, pork, and even trout so that several different diets can be accommodated for! At lunch time, a simpler lunch menu called Yasai-biyori is served with no meat or fish except for a soup stock that has a bonito base. While there is no large protein portion, seven vegetable dishes, miso soup, pickles, rice, and dessert are included so that you do not feel like you are missing out!

    Shunsai Hiyori is open for lunch and then separately for dinner, so you will definitely be able to fit it into your schedule of things to do in Nara (except for when it is closed on Tuesdays). While the restaurant does close at 2:30 pm for lunch and 10:00 pm for dinner, the last time you are able to put an order in is at 2:00 pm for lunch and 9:00 pm for dinner, so make sure you give yourself enough time to enjoy everything! I also recommend going to this restaurant if you are not confident in your Japanese skills because there is an English menu.

    Location: 26 Nakanoshinyacho, Nara, 630-8333

    Phone Number: 0742-24-1470

    Hours: Lunch (11:30 am - 2:30 pm)  Dinner (5:00 pm - 10:00 pm); closed on Tuedays

    English Support: Yes

    NEED SOME HELP ORDERING IN JAPANESE? 

    Check out our Ultimate Guide to Ordering Food in Japanese for some tips!

    Ten pieces of assorted nigiri and three pieces of rolled sushi lay upon a Japanese wooden tray as someone visits a sushi restaurant as one of the things they do in Nara

    Awa Naramachi

    This is an incredibly popular restaurant in Nara that gives you a unique opportunity to eat traditional Nara cuisine while dining in a 140 year old renovated townhouse! Awa Naramachi offers a full course meal in kaiseki style that features only locally grown ingredients. This restaurant’s goal is to provide guests with meals that promote the food culture of Nara, therefore you can sit down and enjoy your food knowing that all it all is locally sourced. Some parts of the course meal include fresh fruit and vegetables, grains from farms in the area, Yamato beef, sake, and more! 

    If you are someone that prefers a more involved food experience, then Awa Naramachi is the restaurant for you! All of the staff that works there is trained to have detailed knowledge of all the ingredients used in the food you are going to eat. They will even be able to provide you with pictures of the farms on which your vegetables grew! Awa Naramachi has definitely made a name for itself in Nara and therefore I recommend making a reservation if you are interested so that you are sure to get a table!

    Location: 〒630-8363 奈良県奈良市勝南院町1

    Phone Number: 0742-24-5699 

    Hours: Lunch (11:30 am - 3:00 pm)  Dinner (5:30 pm - 10:00 pm); closed on Tuesdays

    English Support: No

    Torisetsu Gakuen-mae Branch

     I highly recommend going to Torisetsu Gakuen-mae Branch if chicken is one of your go to foods! This restaurant puts a lot of importance on choosing the best chicken for its dishes, as it makes selections from different parts of Japan for each of the different cuts of chicken. A recommended dish is the Omakase Yakitori 5 skewers, which gives a taste of 5 different chicken skewers using Himalayan salt to fully bring out the flavor of the delicious grilled skewers. This restaurant, unlike the others, has a modern and trendy Japanese atmosphere and is therefore a great place to go if you are looking for a fun place to eat with your friends while you are in Nara!

    While Torisetsu Gakuen-mae Branch is closed on Sundays, it is open from 5:00 pm - 12:00 am the rest of the days, making it a perfect spot for a late night hang out! The average price is ¥3,500 so you can go and not worry that it is going to break your bank!

    Location: B1F, Kintetsu Takama Bldg., Takama-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

    Phone Number: 0742-51-8789

    Hours: 5:00 pm - 12:00 am

    English Support: No

    Kakinoha Sushi Honpo Tanaka

    As I have already mentioned, Nara has a rich history when it comes to food, and Kakinoha Sushi is another one specialty! In this specific kind of sushi, vinegar is added to the rice which is then various types of fish, including bream, salmon, or mackerel. After the sushi is topped, the entire thing is wrapped in kakinoha leaf, a fragrant type of persimmon leaf, to keep it fresh. You can buy a meal and eat inside like a regular restaurant, but you can also purchase a box of sushi for takeout so that you can have a picnic and further enjoy the Nara scenery! If you choose to eat inside however, you can order a set menu that will come with the Kakinoha sushi, soup, and various side dishes. 

    Sushi is the hallmark food of Japan, and I encourage you to try Nara’s special take on it! Another great thing about Kakinoha Sushi Honpo Tanaka is that, unlike many other restaurants, it is open every day! This makes it really easy to add this restaurant as your lunch option or your dinner option, no matter which part of the week you choose to travel! I personally am a huge sushi fan and would definitely be trying this Nara specialty!

    Location: 〒630-8215 奈良県奈良市東向中町5

    Phone Number: 0742-81-3651

    Hours: 9:30 am - 7:30 pm

    English Support: No

    WANT MORE SUSHI? 

    Check out our Ultimate Guide to Japanese Sushi for more! 

    Japanese-group-lessons-in-Shinjuku-600x400-1
    Group Lesson Student

    Affordable Online and Offline Morning Lessons in Tokyo

    Learn Japanese with us online or offline and make your Japan Switch.

    JapanSwitch Logo - LINEAR - 800 x 287
    • Affordable Japanese Lessons
    • Monthly Contracts
    • No Entrance Fees
    • No Hidden Fees
    • 200+ Students
    • Online or Offline Lessons

    3 Best Things to do in Nara With Your Friends

    Nara - Heart of Nature Bike Tour 

    Biking around in Tokyo is a common practice and is a great mode of transportation, but it can become a leisure activity when you travel to places like Nara, known for its beauty and historical landmarks! This tour gives you a chance to explore Nara away from the rest of the tourists, while still being escorted by a tour guide so that you can enjoy and not worry about getting lost. This tour will take you all the way to the top of the Wakakusayama Mountain, allow you to explore a temple deep in the forest, and offer you a view of hidden stone carved Buddhist statues! It is worth mentioning that if you do not care about having a guided tour and just want to nike through Nara, there are rental bikes available for a cheaper price.

    This tour covers an expansive array of Nara treasures over a span of 5-6 hours, and therefore costs $107.33 per adult. I know that this is on the pricier side, but I assure you that it is worth it. You can go on this tour with your friends to have a relaxing bike ride and make amazing memories as you all experience something unique that will be special to you and only you!

    Japanese Calligraphy Experience     

    Do you and your friends like to learn about new activities together? If so, you should absolutely plan to take a Japanese Calligraphy class together! You all will be given a short lesson on how to use the different calligraphy tools and how to write different Japanese words. Your lesson and your time spent actually creating your piece will be spent in a traditional Japanese room covered with Tatami mats overlooking a Japanese garden, offering you a unique historic atmosphere. On completion of your calligraphy, you and your friends can take them home framed and you can all have a matching souvenir from this experience!

    The total experience, located at NARAigoto Eena House, and the take home frame souvenir will all together cost you and your friends $25.69 per person, but really how can you put a price on the memory of this! Your session will last one hour and you can have up to six people in your group. 

    Location: 18 Kawanokami Tsukinuke-cho, Nara city, Nara Pref. 630-8314, Japan

    Website: https://www.naraigoto.org/ 

    Hours: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

    English Support: Yes

    Nara Craft Tour

    Arguably one of the most enjoyable things to do with friends is get drinks together! On this craft tour you will visit the two most popular local micro breweries that are located in Nara city, and this will allow you to enjoy a modern and authentic experience with Japanese Craft Beer. Get ready to try special beers based on the season in which you visit, rice beer, Nara machi craft beer, traditional sushi, and so much more! There will be snacks along the way as you continue to drink but there is also a full meal upon the last stop so that you leave feeling fully satisfied!

    The price of this 3-4 hour tour is $29.36, and it includes drinks at each stop along the way, various snacks, and a tour guide ready to give you and your friends a great experience! I highly recommend coming here with your friends so that you can all share drinks and stories in a new place with local specialties that are completely new to you. My friends and I would definitely be putting this on our list of things to do in Nara!

    WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT BREWERIES IN JAPAN? 

    Check out our Ultimate Guide to Sake Brewery for more options!

    Nine brushes laid out over some paper with Japanese calligraphy with small flower in the corner

    3 Best Things to do in Nara as a Solo Traveler

    Nara National Museum 

    One of the best things to do in Nara if you are a solo traveler is go to a museum! Nara National Museum is the city’s main museum in the area and it gives all who are interested a tour through a collection of Japanese Buddhist art. It was built in 1895 and is home to many major works of art, many of which are from the Nara Period in the eighth century. The museum periodically makes temporary displays of pieces chosen from among the larger collections, but there are of course permanent displays that feature various archaeological discoveries, sculptures, paintings, and calligraphy! Many other visitors of the Nara National Museum have been very interested in the extensive collection of Buddhist statues, paintings, and other religious items.

    You can venture into this museum starting from 9:30 am through 5:30 pm for ¥700 general admission, but only ¥350 yen if you are a college student! Make sure you look the museum up before you visit though because the exhibitions change and the changes sometimes affect the ticket prices.

    Naramachi

    When I am by myself, I really enjoy walking around and taking in the scenery around me. If you are taking a trip to Nara by yourself and having some “you” time, I suggest heading over to Naramachi, an old part of Nara that was once a merchant market. It features traditional wooden townhouses called machiya townhouses that were preserved, and they have white walls with dark lattice patterns and tiled rooftops. While Naramachi used to be packed with these buildings during the Edo period, only a few remain for your enjoyment. This is the perfect place for you to go and roam around without a set purpose in mind. On your walk you will find many of these traditional buildings, but you will also find various cafes, restaurants, shops, and more for you to go in and explore!

    It is free to visit this neighborhood in Japan because it is always encouraged for visitors to become familiar with the local history. Traveling with others sometimes requires putting your interests aside for the sake of the group, but traveling alone will allow you to roam and explore Naramachi on your terms and at your pace!

    Mount Wakakusayama 

    I reference this mountain a few other times in this article, but a visit to Mount Wakakusayama is a great thing to do in Nara if you are traveling unaccompanied. You can take a small hike up this mountain to gain access to unmatched views in Nara! A steep but only 15 - 20 minute hike up the left edge of the mountain will bring you to a plateau from which you can see a full view of the city, and you can choose to continue to hike for about another 20 - 30 minutes in order to reach the mountain’s peak. I probably do not even need to say that this is where the best view is! Mount Wakakusayama is normally covered in grass, but it is decorated with cherry blossom trees in early April. You will not want to miss it!

    As I am sure you can imagine, hiking mountains can be dangerous during the winter months, so Mount Wakakusayama is actually closed to visitors from mid December through late March. It is otherwise open daily from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm and entrance costs ¥150. It is located behind Nara Park and in between Todai-ji Temple and Kasuga Shrine and provides you unobstructed views of Nara city. You may not be sure what things to do in Nara if you are traveling alone, but a solo hike and picturesque views of the place you are visiting are great starts!

    WANT MORE HIKING? 

    Check out our Ultimate Guide to Hiking in Tokyo!

    Your Japanese leaving people in the dark?

    Let our newsletter for beginner to low intermediate learners guide your way.



    3 Best Places to Take Photos in Nara

    Isuien Garden 

    One of the best things to do in Nara is to take photos of all of the beautiful scenery! Isuien Garden is nationally dedicated as being a place of scenic beauty and features two pond gardens that resemble two different eras. The Maenen Garden was made to resemble a villa built on a river, commissioned by a man named Dosei Kiyosumi during the Edo period, at which to enjoy his green tea. It features a central island that floats in the middle of the pond that is in the shape of a crane and a tortoise, and there are lanterns placed at various key points around the garden, perfectly giving in that traditional Japanese aesthetic. The Rear Garden is a hill style garden resembling a pond built by Tokiro Seki in the Naiji era which was made to have poetry gatherings and tea ceremonies. After you enter and walk through a narrow stone path, the view opens up greatly so that you can see Mount Wakakusa, Mount Kasuga Okuyama, Mount Mikasayama, and the Todai-ji Temple Nandaimon all on the horizon! Additionally, because it is so open and clear, you can see the reflection of the sky, trees, and surrounding flowers all in the reflection of the water. It is breathtaking and so would be the best backdrop for photos!

    Beauty always comes at a price, therefore the general tickets are ¥1200 (a group of 15 or more get a discount of ¥1000 per ticket), but you can get a discounted ticket of ¥500 if you are a university student! It is closed on holidays but otherwise every day from 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. I recommend visiting during Spring so that you can see both gardens in full bloom with cherry blossoms, crape myrtles, water lilies, and so many more! 

    Nara Park 

    Nara is notoriously known for the deer that roam the area. Nara Park is a large public park that offers you the experience of seeing and interacting with the 1,200 Shika Deer that have found a home here! These deer were once revered as messengers of the gods, but they have since become living National Treasures and are officially protected. The best part of this experience is that though the deer are technically wild, they have become very accustomed to humans and therefore comfortable with you coming very close to feed them rice crackers that you can get at the park. You can get really close and take great pictures of these adorable deer, and that is a memory you will always keep with you!

    Nara Park is free and it is open 24 hours a day and should definitely be one of the things you do in Nara! Visit one of the oldest parks in Japan for a relaxing experience that will still give you the most instagrammable pictures!

    Ukimido Pavilion

    The Ukimido Pavilion actually is located in Nara Park, but it is so beautiful that it is worth mentioning as its own category. It looks as if it is floating on the Sagiike Pond in Nara Park, and it is particularly beautiful in the morning because the mists that come from the pond surround the pavilion giving it a mysterious yet dreamy appearance perfect for a picture. On the other hand, it is incredibly picturesque when the sun sets as the vibrant colors from the sky are reflected off of the water, all while the Shika deer are roaming in the background creating a beautiful backdrop. You can never take a bad picture here!

    Ukimido Pavilion follows the same guidelines as Nara Park making it free and always open! It would be a very worthwhile experience to put a visit to Ukimido Park on your bucket list of things to do in Nara. You can go in the morning, during the day, or in the evening and take pictures that capture the true beauty of the history and nature of Nara. 

    5 Must See Shrines and Temples in Nara

    Taodai-ji Temple

    Taodai-ji Temple, meaning “the large temple of the east,” is by far the most famous temple in Nara. It is home to the Daibutsu-sama which is the “Great Buddha” statue, along with several other massive buildings and structures, such as the Great South Gate and the Daibutsuden, or the “Great Buddha Hall.” After visiting these, keep walking until you get to the Hokke-do Hall, the oldest building in the temple built in the Nara period! Many of the structures, including the Daibutsu-sama, were built during the Nara period as a prayer or symbol for the happiness of the people according to Buddhist teachings. You must make visiting the Taodai-ji Temple one of the things you do in Nara as seeing and taking pictures of the temple itself and the structures within is the hallmark of visiting this prefecture! If you want even more than that, you can visit the Taodai-ji Museum where you can learn more about the history of the Nara period and look the its collection of treasures and even more statues. 

    The Taodai-ji Temple is open daily from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm but the museum does not open until 9:30 am. All of the halls, including the museum are ¥600, but I recommend spending a little more money and purchasing the ¥1,000 ticket the lets you gain access to both the Daibutsuden and the Taodai-ji Museum! A Taodai-ji Temple visit is non-negotiable when you are in Nara so make sure you add it to your itinerary!

    Kasuga Grand Shrine

    If you are looking for an experience that is focused more on the religious side with an option of prayer, I recommend visiting the Kasuga Grand Shrine! This shrine was built in 768 and was meant to be a blessing of peace for the citizens. Enshrined there are four deities, Takemikazuchi-no-Mikoto, Futsunushi-no-Mikoto, Amanokoyane-no-Mikoto, and Himegami, to which visitors are welcome to offer prayers. There are also several subsidiary shrines to the main shrine itself, offering you many different views and experiences. One of the shrines, called Meoto Daikoku-sha, is the singular shrine in Japan that features a pair of married deities, making it one that is believed to bring prosperity in business and harmony in marriage. If you are looking for a boost in your job or your love life, make sure to visit this shrine! I also recommend that you put visiting the Kasuga Grand Shrine at the beginning of your plan of things to do in Nara because you can then attend the chohai worship ritual in the morning, which commemorates the 1300 year memorial of when the capital was transferred to Nara!

    Admission to this shrine is free and it is open daily from 6:30 am - 5:30 pm. It is worth it to visit the Kasuga Grand Shrine no matter how or who you are traveling with because it offers you a unique experience to get involved and take part in the culture and history of the area!

    Two story Japanese temple standing proudly against a cloud filled blue sky as a popular spot for things to do in Nara

    Omiwa Shrine

    Are you someone that feels a connection to nature? If that is you then I would highly suggest visiting the Omiwa Shrine. It is the oldest shrine in the entirety of Japan and was built with the purpose of worship for Mount Miwa which is covered in cedar, pine, and cypress trees and has been worshipped for years as a sacred mountain of the gods. The deity that is enshrined in the Omiwa Shrine is called Omononushi no Okami and considered to be the god of national development and the guardian of all those that work in agriculture and commerce. There are other incredibly worthwhile places to visit within the shrine including the Sai Shrine, a shrine dedicated to a deity revered for the ability to cure illness, or the well from which you can take sacred water that comes from Mount Miwa itself! 

    Omiwa Shrine is open daily for free from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Personally, this is the first shrine that I would visit! This shrine offers you an unmatched experience to feel the history of Nara prefecture and experience the beauty of Japan’s nature that is said to be directly connected to the power of gods.

    Hasedera Temple

    You should put visiting the Hasedera Temple on your list of things to do in Nara if you prefer a temple dedicated to a goddess rather than a god! The main deity of this temple is an 11-faced Kannon statue of a standing goddess. The special worship seasons are in fall and spring which is when you are allowed to walk close to the Kannon statue and touch the feet which is said to bring good luck!Another unique point about this temple is that you can enjoy seeing beautiful flowers and trees during each season, including peonies, hydrangeas, and maple trees, earning the temple its second name of the “Temple of Flowers.” The most famous flowers are by far the peonies as there are about 7000 of them that bloom during spring, which are accompanied by the “Peony Festival” that features tea offerings and parties in mid-April! 

    The Hasedera Temple is open daily from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm and has a visiting fee of ¥500. While it is unfortunately not free, it is worth it to visit this temple to witness the goddess statue in all its glory surrounded by thousands of flowers. Think of the pictures you could take!

    Abemon Juin Temple

    Abemon Juin is notorious for enshrining one of the three largest Monju, or deity of mediation, in all of Japan. It is specifically the Monju Busatsu deity, a god of wisdom, and attracts students from all over the country during the season of entrance exams as they wish for luck in passing. I suggest taking part in the shichi-mairi, or good luck ritual, which includes circling the temple seven times, offering a paper talisman each round to the enshrined deities, and then ending with a wish or a prayer. Kinkaku-ukimi-do Hall is another attraction you can visit when at Abemon Juin Temple, and this is where several members of the Abe clan are held. You can go inside to see deity statues of the god of good fortune, gods of protection from evil, and gods of protection from disaster. 

    The Abemon Juin Temple is also open daily with free entry between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. It is not free to enter Kinkaku-ukimi-do Hall, but for only ¥700 you are free to walk through the temple and matcha and dessert are included! A visit to this temple is another way for you to learn about the history of Nara, and you should take this opportunity to connect yourself to the original capital of Japan!

    WANT MORE? 

    Check out our Ultimate Guide to Shrines and Temples in Tokyo for more! 

    Evening Activities in Nara

    Sarusawa Pond

    There are several ways to end a fantastic day spent exploring a new place, and one of those ways is to have a nice evening spent outdoors enjoying night views. If you choose to spend the last few hours of the day here, you can bear witness to the image of the moon being reflected off of the water along with the shadows of the weeping willows that line the water. The image of the moon on the pond’s water is actually famous as being one of the “Eight Views of Nara”! 

    The Sarusawa Pond is located alongside the five-storied pagoda of the Kyofuku-dera Temple, and the viewing hours run from 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm year round. If you want to have a relaxing evening and reflect on all the incredible things you experienced in Nara that day, I suggest heading to the Sarusawa Pond for a magical night!

    Shin-Omiya Rokuchome Yokocho

    Another perfectly acceptable way to end the night is with a fun and more energetic experience. Shin-Omiya Rokuchome Yokocho is a popular izakaya located in Nara, and will provide you that lively night out that you are looking for! It has a loud and smokey atmosphere and is special because the inside is designed to look like a street in the Edo-period! There is a common seating space and six separate yatai food stalls where you can get all the drinks that you desire along with delicious food pairings, such as okonomiyaki, beef, chicken, and more, and then go take a seat because everything will be brought right to you!

    Shin-Omiya Rokuchome Yokocho has later hours because it knows that this is a place that you go to late and stay at while you have a great time with your friends! It is labeled as a two dollar sign establishment among a five tiered rating, and it is open Tuesday-Thursday 5:30 pm - 2:00 am, Friday and Saturday 5:30 pm - 2:30 am, and Sunday 5:30 pm - 12:00 am. You are sure to get a table here whether you planned a week trip or a weekend trip! 

    IMPORTANT: Make sure you bring cash because this is a cash only establishment. Izakayas are reigning champions of the drinking culture in Japan, and if that is something that you love being a part of then I suggest you plan on adding it to the end of your itinerary of things to do in Nara!

    Nara Hotel: The Bar

    I have now provided you with a relaxing option, an exciting option, and now I am going to offer you a more high end option. Nara Hotel is one of the few official representative guest houses in Nara and is an incredibly luxurious place. It is decorated in an old fashioned way that gives it a traditional feel and resembles the atmosphere of the Meiji period. This is an esteemed and authentic bar in Nara, and you are encouraged to come and share in the ambiance!

    The Bar located in the Nara Hotel is open every day of the week from 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm. This bar is perfect for you if you like to indulge while you are on a trip and if elegance is something that you search for. 

      

     

     

     

     

    Things to do in Nara Itinerary Recommendations

    Itinerary 1

    • 10:00 am - Nara Park 
    • 12:30 pm - Lunch at Torisetsu Gakuen-mae Branch
    • 2:00 pm - Nara Craft Tour
    • 6:00 pm - Taodai-ji Temple
    • 7:30 pm - Dinner at Shunsai Hiyori
    • 9:30 pm - Drinks at Shin-Omiya Rokuchome Yokocho

    Itinerary 2

    • 10:00 am - Omiwa Shrine
    • 12;00 pm - Lunch at Kakinoha Sushi Honpo Tanaka
    • 2:30 pm - Mount Wakakusayama Hike
    • 4:30 pm - Isuien Garden
    • 6:30 pm - Dinner at Awa Naramachi
    • 8:30 pm - Sarusawa Pond

    Final Thoughts

    Nara is a hub of Japanese history and culture. There are so many things to do in Nara that it can be overwhelming to narrow down and choose, but I can assure you that everything included in this guide to Nara is worth your time and money! Some places that are dedicated to history and historical structures can be slightly boring to visit, but Nara is a vibrant place filled with opportunities to learn and enjoy yourself! Whether you choose to visit on your own or with a group of friends, there is something to do in Nara for everyone and your trip will provide you with memories that will last a lifetime.

    Archer

    From Beginner to Pro

    Our bi-weekly emails for beginners to low intermediate students will give you the tips and motivation to self-study Japanese your way to Japanese fluency.

    Scroll to Top