■Japan Shopping: Spend a day and a half in the ancient city of Naramachi, where you can meet deers and enjoy all the charm of Japan!

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  • Update date

    • 2021-11-26

Nara is just an hour's train ride from Osaka and Kyoto, two of Japan's most popular tourist destinations and the Naramachi area is within walking distance from the gateway to the city. There are not many places in Japan where you can experience Japanese culture, history, and specialties in a quiet atmosphere surrounded by nature, important cultural properties and old townscapes. Why don't you get out of the busy and tiring life for a while and spend some relaxing time in this city, discovering many new things!

▲ There are deers walking around in the area, but they are getting lonely because of the recent lack of visitors to Japan.

To get to Naramachi, you can take the JR or Kintetsu train from Osaka or Kyoto without changing trains, but it is more convenient to take the Kintetsu train and get off at Kintetsu Nara Station as it is closer to Naramachi.

Since Naramachi is not a large area, it can be visited in one day, staying overnight and taking your time to explore is recommended.

■ 1st day in the morning arrive at Naramachi

If you walk around the town, you will find a lot of pleasant things and sceneries. If you arrive in Naramachi in the morning, take a walk around and explore.

▲ Left: Walking through the town, there are many signs guiding you to Naramachi, so you can get there without worries.
Middle: Hemp fabric originated in Nara and ropes made of the hemp fabric are displayed in the store.
Right: Torii mark on the wall regards the ban of letting dogs pee while walking them.

11:30 For lunch, try Nara's original Kakinoha Sushi!

 Sushi, rice cakes, somen noodles, pickles, etc. are some of the foods that originated in Nara, but I recommend Kaki-no-ha-zushi (persimmon leaf sushi), which is made by placing salted mackerel or salmon fillets on top of vinegared rice and wrapping them in Nara's special persimmon leaves. This dish is popular even among those who don't like raw fish sushi. In addition to eating, if you have enough time, why don't you join the Kakinoha Sushi making class (reservation required at least one day in advance) and make one of your favorite memories of your trip to Nara?

▲Since Nara is surrounded by mountains, it was hard to get seafood, so preservable food was very important. The long-established restaurant "Hirasou Nara" has English and Chinese menus.

14:00 Get crafts and specialities of Nara and experience its culture! 

 The second most enjoyable part of traveling is shopping. A long-established company that has been in business for 300 years has opened a store where you can buy Nara's limited edition products and Nara-based artists' works as well as daily life tools. In addition to seeing and buying items, you can also enjoy a new way of tea ceremony and experience hemp manufacturing by touching the loom and other tools (reservation required). There are also restaurants and cafes where you can relax and enjoy the old history of Nara.

▲ Limited edition products for the new commercial complex "Shika Sarukitsune Building" by Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten and this store.

Source: Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten

15:30 When you get tired from walking around Naramachi, take a break and have some Japanese sweets! 

 Japanese sweets are made from the best ingredients according to the season and climate, every season has its special ingredients. This is a store that pays attention to the ingredients, how they are made, and when they should be eaten. The taste of seasonal authentic Japanese sweets served with tea in a traditional Japanese house is very special. Shaved ice is also available from spring to autumn. Japanese sweets are a great way to experience the seasons during afternoon tea time in Japan.

▲Seasonal Japanese sweets and green tea set from Kashiya. Even it is a small place, it has a second floor, too. It's better to make a reservation.(Kashiya

16:30 Try Japanese sake from Nara! 

 It is said that Japanese sake originated in Nara. Why don't you try Nara's local sake, Harushika? Nowadays, people from all over the world enjoy sake because it goes well with not only Japanese food but also Western food such as French cuisine. If you have never experienced sake before, this is a great opportunity to try some of the seasonal limited sake in the sake brewery wiht an authentic atmosphere.

▲If you purchase an original Harushika glass for 500 yen, you will be able to taste five different kinds of sake. Tasting sake in a sake brewery (Harushika Brewery)

PM8:00・・・There is also nightime fun! Strolling around the area, you will see a wonderful view that is different from the daytime. 

 One of the things I look forward to when I travel is what I can do not only during the day, but also at night! There are no neon lights in Nara, but you can still enjoy a quiet nightlife. Kofukuji Temple, which is registered as a World Heritage Site, is located in the area. The temple grounds with its halls, five-story pagoda, and gates are open 24 hours a day, and the view of the Sarusawa Pond lit up at night gives a deep sense of history.

Kofukuji Temple National Treasure Five-storied Pagoda (height 50.1m)

You can enjoy the light up of Kofukuji Temple, there is a Starbucks around Sarusawa Pond and the reflection of the sign on the water is very mysterious.

▲ If you get thirsty or hungry after a walk, there are places where you can enjoy meals casually. You can enjoy Nara's local sake and specialties.

■2nd Day  AM8:00・・・There are many places in the area where you can enjoy nature.  

 It feels very nice to stroll around in the area surrounded by mountains and greenery with beautiful air. Why don't you spend a leisurely morning by not just taking a walk but also looking at the cultural assets of Kofukuji Temple, sit on the bench around the Sarusawa Pond, think about your plans for the day, and have a cup of coffee? There is also a bakery that is recommended for those who have not had breakfast.

▲There are benches around Sarusawa Pond, where you can relax in the clear air. Kofuku-ji Temple's Chukondo can be viewed from the outside.

■2nd Day  AM9:00・・・Breakfast at the hotel is nice, but why don't you take a walk and eat some delicious bread?  

Breakfast at a bakery run by women, the bakery is popular among the locals as well as tourists. The sandwich made with fresh vegetables and shrimp is recommended ! The bread is very light and delicious since they use natural yeast and there are so many varieties that you could eat it every day and never get tired of it.  

 The restaurant is open from 8:00 a.m. for take-out, but if you want to eat at the restaurant, you can do so from 9:00 a.m.

▲ A bakery that started from a small kitchen 35 years ago, the shop is small but the types of bread available is countless. MIAS BREAD

■Other fascinations of Naramachi  

 Nara is one of the few cities in Japan where you can find a lot of nature and greenery in the city, and it is the only place where you can see animals walking around outside the zoo and feed them, you can also meet deers here.

Other messages 

 There are no convenience stores in the area, so if you would like to buy food or drinks, we recommend that you go to the station area. 

 There are currency exchange stores and tourist information centers in the  area, so please visit them if you have any problems.  

 The area can be explored on foot, but there are also bicycle rentals available  for those who wish to explore the area by bicycle.

▲The Naramachi Information Center is located on the main street of Naramachi. It provides information on sightseeing and stores in Naramachi, as well as bike rentals.

Location of Naramachi・Nearest station  

From Osaka, JR Yamatoji Line, Kintetsu Nara Line

From Kyoto, take the JR Nara Line or the Kintetsu Kyoto Line, both take about one hour to reach Nara.   

Nearest station

      Kintetsu Nara Station 6mins walk

      JR Nara Station 12mins walk