Nara is a famous sightseeing spot, approximately 30 minutes from Osaka by train. There is a tourist information center named "NARA Visitor Center & Inn" accessible from Kintetsu Nara Station in 8 minutes on foot.
A recommended point about this inn is that you can have various experiences of Japanese cultural free of charge (some of them charged), on the spot and easily. Even if you have a busy travel itinerary, you can experience Japanese culture according to your own sightseeing schedule. Besides, it offers everything that will allow you to enjoy your visit to Nara to the fullest, such as its accommodation facility, advice on tourism, free-of-charge luggage storage, Wi-Fi, charging of smartphones and change of money. Why not stop by?
Here, we would like to introduce some free-of-charge experiences of Japanese culture. What you can practice between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. everyday without a reservation is origami, simple calligraphy, and cosplay.
■Popular Japanese cultural experience ① Origami: approximately 30 minutes in duration (The duration is an estimated period of time and varies depending on what is experienced. This applies to the other experiences below as well.)
▲Image source: NARA Visitor Center & Inn
We choose our favorite origami and fold it into the shape of a "deer," the symbol of Nara, looking at an explanatory book. If you do not know how to fold it, the staff of the inn will kindly instruct you. Also, those who do not have much time or who find origami difficult can receive origami folded by the staff. As you enjoy talking with the staff, you will be able to collect a lot of information about Nara!
■Popular Japanese cultural experience ② Simple calligraphy: 15-30 minutes in duration
▲Image source: Image source: NARA Visitor Center & Inn
There are two ways of writing: writing kanji characters with a brush pen, looking at a sample book; and writing the Japan visitor's name, using equivalent kanji characters (as shown by the above photo). Both these ways are enjoyable but there are many Japan visitors who enjoy themselves in seeing kanji characters equivalent to their names. This will be a good memory of your visit to Japan, so how about displaying yours in a frame?
■Recommended Japanese cultural experience ③ Cosplay: 15-30 minutes in duration
In addition to kimonos and yukatas, costumes for sumo wrestlers, ninjas and samurai are available, and there are costumes for children and adults alike, so whole families can enjoy cosplaying. What is the most popular with females is yukatas. It is possible for each person to change clothes of many types. Please take a photo or video of yourself in a cosplay costume. A recommended photo spot is where you are photographed as the five-story pagoda viewable from the inn is seen in the background.
■A message to Japan visitors: You can obtain info that can only be procured here!
This inn always has English-speaking and Chinese-speaking staff on hand to provide information and advice according to the needs of Japan visitors, including information that SNSs alone cannot help obtain, such as about today's enjoyable events and recommended restaurants in the locality. The biggest point is that it is possible to experience Japanese culture free of charge, effectively using the time between occasions of sightseeing.
Besides, in the inn, there is a space for providing information about spots and foods recommended according to the four seasons and explaining specialties in Nara Prefecture. The inn is also equipped with a prayer room where Muslims can pray, and an information map regarding halal-friendly restaurants.
▲A tourist information center and an accommodation facility are provided in an all-in-one manner, which will be very useful for tourists.
■Location of NARA Visitor Center & Inn
Address: 3 Ikenocho, Nara City
Closest Station: 8 minutes on foot from Kintetsu Nara Station