Nara, Japan is a wonderful place to visit that is full of rich culture, history, and activities. It is a great place to visit for a day trip away from the larger cities of Kyoto and Osaka. There are a number of temples, parks, restaurants, shops, and other places to visit that will fill up an entire day. Best of all, Nara is easily accessible if you are staying in Kyoto or Osaka.
How to Reach Nara by Rail Line from Osaka
If you are staying in Osaka, you can travel by rail to Nara in less than an hour. There are two rail lines that connect to Nara from Osaka. If you have an active JR Pass, the Yamatoji Rapid Service from Osaka Station is free and under an hour to reach your destination. However, it will drop you off further away from the main tourist attractions. The other method to reach Nara is by using the Kintetsu Nara Line from Namba Station. The Rapid Express version is half the price of the Limited Express and only about five minutes slower. This is the recommended route to reach Nara as it will drop you off in an ideal location to explore the area.
How to Reach Nara by Rail Line from Kyoto
There are two rail line options departing from Kyoto Station. Using an active JR Pass, you can take the Miyakoji Rapid Service for free and arrive in about 45 minutes. The other option is the Kintetsu Nara Line. Like Osaka's Namba Station, the Rapid Express train will take about 50 minutes and is half the price of the Limited Express train. If you want to save about 15 minutes or the departure time is more convenient, the Limited Express train is a better option.
Recommended Activities for a Day Trip to Nara
One of the top attractions in Nara is Todai-ji Temple. The main hall is the world's largest wooden structure that houses a large statue of Buddha along with other statues. On your way to Todai-ji Temple, stop by Nara Park for a quick visit with the local deer. Another area to explore surrounds Kofuku-ji Temple. There are multiple shops, restaurants, and even an owl cafe. Mentouan, a restaurant famous for its udon noodles, is a popular destination. Just look for a line of people on the corner of Sanjo Dori. Some other places of interest are the Nara National Museum, and Isuien Garden.