Nara Prefecture has a population of 1.3 million people, out of which around 11,000 inhabitants hold a foreign passport. Nara City is the prefecture’s capital and has a population of 357,903.
Nara is well connected to Kansai International Airport. There is a direct bus departing from the airport to Nara City, which only takes 90 minutes. You can also take a train from the airport to Nara City via Tennoji station, which also takes 90 minutes.
Nara prefecture is home to many UNESCO heritage sites that are worth visiting. During the Asuka and Nara period 1500 – 1300 years ago, Japan’s capital was located close to Nara City.
Sentokun, a boy with deer horns on his head, was created as a character to celebrate Nara’s historic importance and he can since be found on many souvenirs.
Points of Interest
Visiting Temples in Nara
Eight temples, shrines and ruins remain of the old Nara capital Heijokyo and can be visited within the borders of Nara City.
Horyuji Temple in Ikaruga was the first site in Japan to become a UNESCO heritage site. The beautiful wooden temple complex hosts many temple halls and its pagoda is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world, dating back to the 6th century.
The most famous one is, without doubt, the Todaiji Temple, with its massive seated Buddha statue.
The “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”
The “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” is another cultural heritage site. Two roads pass through Nara prefecture, of which the Omine Okudo is supposed to be the more difficult one and the other one connects Mount Koya and Kumano Sanzan.
Yoshino Mountain is a popular cherry blossom spot. The mountain is covered with thousands of cherry blossom trees that start blooming at different times due to the altitude.
Deers in Nara
The city of Nara is not just famous for its numerous temples and shrines but also for roughly 1,300 deers that roam the inner city, most notably the public park in the center of the city. The deers can be touched and fed with rice crackers that are sold on the streets.
Local Foods in Nara
Nara prefecture is home to a unique local cuisine.
Miwa Somen are high-quality noodles produced in the Miwa district. Boiled Somen, as well as Sesame Tofu (Gomadofu), are classic local dishes.
Tenri Ramen are so-called Stamina Ramen, but the local version is made with garlic and chives. The soup is sweeter and thicker than regular ramen soup and is based on liver and cabbage.
Yamatonaki Somen is made with Miwa Somen and resembles a pasta dish. Daibutsu Pudding is a popular souvenir.
Average living expenses in Nara
The average rent for a one-room apartment in Nara City is around 41.000 Yen monthly.
Living expenses in total including electricity, internet, mobile phone, food, and entertainment should be calculated with roughly 90.000 to 160.000 Yen monthly.