Nara prefecture is also part of Kansai and located in landlocked with bordered directly to others prefectures. Nara mostly covered by mountains and forests and Nara leave 23% of the area left inhabitable and 17% of the total area become national park. Since Nara is landlocked area, it has inland characteristics climate which has bigger variance within the same day as well as the difference range between summer and winter. When winter come, the temperature about 3 - 5°C but in mountain area the temperature below −5°C while 25 – 28°C in the summer (highest ever close to 35°C) with heavy rainfall (include the heaviest in Japan). In spring and fall is more moderate climate. Nara population in 2018 1,341,341 with Men 631,969 and Women 709,372. The uniqueness of Nara prefecture is its abundance of ancient culture site and more temples that has become national treasure as well as UNESCO World Heritage Listings.
1. Japan’s first permanent capitalIf Ancient Japan were a single place it would be Nara Prefecture. Nara is Japan first permanent capital from AD 710 to 794, it has been 1,309 years since the capital moved to Nara. For most of the eighth century, Nara was the capital of Japan. A wealth of buildings and artifacts from that period have survived to this day, many of which have been designated as national treasures. It is no wonder because there are so many important ancient artefacts, castles, temples, shrines, etc, in here, because almost all the important activities especially the political activities happened in Nara. Like Kyoto, Nara has always full of history and cultural things here that worth to be explored and see when you visit Japan, this is always being the reason that Nara attract so many visitors.
2. Sacred Image of Ancient Japan SpriritualAside of being the ancient story of Japan political history, Nara also the capital of Japan Buddhism Arta which the government made it centralized as the core of political and religion Buddhist while in Japan history these two things can’t be separated. At Nara period, many cultural influences from China adopted especially in writing system and ideas and practice of Buddhism. Due to this role in Japan iconic religion, it is no wonder Japan has many remain Buddhist remain relics, artifacts, as well as temples and shrines. They are not just the old artefacts but it is in UNESCO World Heritage list as well as claim as the oldest monument in the world. Those are the reason that made all the visitors local and international to come to Nara. Seeing Japan most oldies relics and monuments will bring their imagination how was the Japan at that time.
3. Where the Ancient Food that loved by Locals and TouristSince Nara is the mother land of Buddhist in Japan, this prefecture has so many temples as well as the priest. Usually, there is food for priest. Chagayu is the staple food of priestsat Todaiji and Kokufuji. It is actually a simple dish that made from a cooking rice being dipped into the tea, give the profoundly fragrant and refreshing aroma. Over the times, it become the favorite breakfast in households in Nara and grows into a traditional food that popular among local and tourist also. Another one is Kaki no Ha Zushi, a sushi that wrapped in persimmon leaf that gives a mellow flavor of the sushi. A local dish from Southern Nara is consist of vinegard rice topped with mackerel or salmon. Last but not least, Mikasayaki, sweets dish that consist of mild Azuki bean paste that put in two fluffy pancakes in sandwhiched. All sweet-toothers would love this dish.
Nara Tourist Spots
1. Nara ParkYou can not mention ever visit Nara if you have not put Nara Park as your visit list. Nara park is the gateway and also the highlight of the area. It a big park around 660 hectares at the foot of Mount Wakakusa. The famous one from the park is its free roaming and friendly deer. Feeding the deer is an attraction in itself and food for the deer also being sold around the area. Still in Nara Park, you can find the world famous temples Todaiji, Kofukuji, and Kasuga Taisha shrine. The most magnificent attraction here is the main hall of Todaiji, known as the Great Buddha Hall. There is a 57 meters wide, 47 meters tall, and 50 meters long, it is the world's largest wooden building. Many of the other buildings and statues found across the vast grounds of Todaiji are also national treasures, and the temple attracts visitors from across Japan and overseas. Kofukuji is also famous as a venerable temple that preserves some of the crown jewels of Buddhist art. Not to be missed is the Asura statue, a handsome, boy-like figure whose melancholic countenance alone. So, you can get more than one attractions in Nara Park. That is why it is said that you have not come to Nara yet if you have not got to Nara park.
2. Nara National MuseumThis museum holds treasures from the Nara period (710 to 784 AD), plus Buddhist and decorative art from around Japan. Most of the explanation in this museum is in English, so no worries for the overseas tourist. The museum manager seem know that this kind of museum will attract international attention to visit. In the garden, you can see the Edo period Hassoan Teahouse, one of the three famous teahouses of the Nara region. There is also cafe with outdoor terrace that offering light meals.
3. NaramachiNaramachi is the former merchant district of Nara, where several traditional residential buildings and warehouses are preserved and open to the public. As expected for old city like Nara, it has the old town also that remain thing traditionally. In Naramachi, you can visit many attractions, for examples, one of the most important temples in Japan Gangoji temple. There is also Koshi no Ie, a former merchant house that now open to public and also the 100 years old town house Nigiwai no Ie with the interior reflected to 24 seasons of the year according to the traditional almanac, and visitors can experience the changing seasons as well as appreciate traditional architecture. One that you can’t be missed also is Imanishike Shoin Residence, a former residence of an important temple official who worked at Kofukuji Temples in Edo era. this residence has nice garden and large interior.There also some museum in Naramachi, such as a toy museum Naramachi Karakuri Omochakan and also Nara Craft museum for arts and crafts Nara famous for.