Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara in Nara Prefecture – Japan

The Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monuments include Buddhist and historic monuments.

Location and How to Get to This Specific Site

The prefecture is located in the Honshu Island. It is at the Kansai region. To and from Kyoto, you can take the Miyakoji rapid train. These run every half hour between the JR Nara Station and the Kyoto station. A one way trip takes 45 minutes. Travelers can also use Kintetsu Railways. They leave twice every hour. The Kintetsu station is near the Nara and Kofukuji Park.

What to See There

The monuments in the UNESCO list are comprised of eight places. All are in Old Nara (the former capital of Japan). These are made up of a forest, a Shinto shrine and five Buddhist temples. The Buddhist temples are the Todai-ji, Kofuku-ji, Gango-ji and Yakushi-ji. The Shinto shrine is called the Kasuga Shrine. There is also the Nara Palace site and the Kasugayama Primeval Forest.

While these are the only parts in the UNESCO list, Nara is filled with ancient treasures. All around the old city are ancient temples and burial sites. Collectively they are known as kofun.


Nara was established as Japan’s first capital in 710. Back then the
place was known as Jeijo. In no time at all, the Buddhist monasteries began springing up. They would become so powerful the government had to relocate the capital to Nagaoka in 784. But Nara would leave behind a rich legacy. This is evident from the structures that remain in the city.


The Miyakoji rapid trains cost 690 Yen one way. The Kintetsu Railways is faster, but it costs more (1,109 Yen). The kyuko express trains cost 610 Yen. The admission to mot of the temples is 500 Yen.

Other Info

There are also 53 areas designated as Important Cultural Properties. 26 edifices have been classified as National Treasures by the government.

Visitors to the city can also drop by the Isuien Garden and Nara Park. The park is noted for its wild deer. The Yoshikien Garden is made up of three Japanese gardens each with their own distinct style. You will find antique houses at the Naramachi district.

There are many tour providers that can arrange a visit to the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara. However, not all of them will include visits to the other parts of the city. Make sure you check the itinerary first.