When to travel?

The data shows that the climate in Nara is the coldest in Kinki area with the least sunny days.  It rarely snows, yet temperature in the city and in the mountains could vary a lot.

Best season: Mar-Dec (Jun is monsoon, Jul-Aug could be hot and humid, Sep is typhoon)
Cherry blossom: end of Mar-Apr
Foliage: Nov

Events / Festivals

Jan: Dadado Oni hashiri (陀々堂の鬼走り), Gojo 五條
Feb: Ettsumi Onishi no Otsuna (江包・大西の御綱), Sakurai 桜井
Mar: Omizu tori (お水取り), Nara
Aug: Totsukawa river Ouodori (十津川の大踊), Totsukawa 十津川
Oct: Daimokutate (題目立), Nara
Oct: Narazuhiko shrine Okina dance festival (奈良豆比古神社の翁舞), Nara
Dec: KasugaWakamiya festival Shinji (春日若宮神社の神事芸能), Nara

Touristic spots

Capital city: Nara (奈良市)

Located close to the border of Kyoto, there is a capital city of Nara.  As described in the Kinki article, the whole city itself is UNESCO World Heritage site.  The funny thing is that Horyuji temple (法隆寺), which is also located in the city, is not included in the Old City Nara but it is a separate World Heritage site.

Nara park (奈良公園)

It is known as history park.  This is because there are numerous historical temples and museums inside the park, and we can all feel its old history of the Nara period, the 8th century. 

There is a Big Buddha in Todaiji temple (東大寺), the city’s symbol.
Kasugataisha shrine (春日大社), which was originally built in 8th century.
There are also wild deer in the park!  Deer are the servants of the God, so that the people in Nara takes good care of them.  Unlike other wild animals, there are many stands that sells Shika sembei (鹿せんべい), deer cracker, which you can use to feed them.
Yakushiji temple (薬師寺) and Toto Eastern tower (東塔), which was bult upon being the capital of Japan in 7th century.  Toto Eastern tower is the only building from that era.

Asuka village (明日香村)

This is a very mysterious place in a Japanese history.  It is expected to be the place where the first government has started.  That is the reason why the village is called as a hometown of Japanese.

Lots of ruins and objects are found in this place.

Hasedera (長谷寺)

A temple well-known for peony flowers from end of April until early May, and for hydrangea in June.

The temple is also a National Treasure of Japan.

Yoshino (吉野)

Yoshino is said to be the Japan’s top place to enjoy cherry blossoms.  A whole mountain is covered with cherry blossom trees, and it is called as Hitome Sembon Sakura (一目千本桜), thousands cherry blossoms in one sight.  It has been the place for the royal people to enjoy cherry blossoms since Heian Era, which is more than 1000 years back, and many poets spelled about this mountain in their poems.

Trees start blooming from early April, a bit later than in the city.

Murouji temple (室生寺)

Mt. Koya is the place where Buddhist monks receive harsh training, however, it did not allow any women to get in.  Muroji temple, on the other hand, was open to women so that it is also called as Ladies Koya (女人高野).

The temple was a hidden place until Edo period, and the monks were said to have been able to obtain some kind of special power after they get trained in this temple.

Five-story pagoda.

Mt. Koya and Yoshino Kumano pilgrimage road

Description available in Kansai article.

Totsukawa Hot spring (十津川温泉)

A small Hot spring in the mountain, along Totsukawa river.