4 Key Places to Visit in Nara During the Cherry Blossom Season

Nara Park is a unique place where you can enjoy shrines,temples, and encounter deers.
The Hanami season makes it even more enjoyable. Here are 4 places you don’t want to miss during your springtime visit.

2019-04-17   Visit: Parks & Nature, Nara,

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Nara Park: deers under the cherry blossoms

Picture credit: Rumpleteaser on Flickr

Nara Park is home to about 1,200 deers in Nara Park. These cute (but still quite wild) animals are designated as a ‘Precious Natural Treasure’ of Japan. They’ve been protected since ancient times because they are believed to be messengers from the gods.

Usually, the best time to see cherry blossoms in Nara Park is from the end of March to the end of April. There are about 1,700 various kinds of cherry blossom trees in full bloom.

Nara Park

  • Address:543 Shibatsuji-cho, Nara city, Nara Prefecture
  • Getting there:5-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station / 20-minute walk from JR Nara Station
  • WebsiteNara Park

A five-story pagoda immersed in cherry blossoms

興福寺
The pagoda at Koufuku-ji temple during spring

Koufuku-ji temple was built in 669, and is one of the most famous and prettiest spots in Nara. During Spring, it is a great photo spot as the five-story pagoda seems to be rising up from the trees. Make sure not to miss the drooping cherry tree near the three-story pagoda as well.

Kohfuku-ji Temple

  • Address:48 Noboriōji-cho, Nara city, Nara Prefecture
  • Getting there:6-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station
  • WebsiteKohfuku-ji Temple

The first cherry tree to blossom in Nara

 奈良一番桜
The first cherry tree in Nara

At Himuro Shrine, you can find a drooping cherry tree called Nara-Ichiban zakura (奈良一番桜: literally ‘The first cherry tree in Nara’) . every year, itt is the first cherry tree to blossom in Nara and has become a symbol of the advent of spring for the locals.
There are several beautiful drooping cherry trees on the shrine grounds. The one in front of the four-legged gate is 100 years old.You can also enjoy viewing cherry trees illuminated at night (around 6pm to 9pm).

Himuro Shrine

  • Address:1-4 Kasugano-cho, Nara city, Nara Prefecture
  • Getting there:15-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station
  • WebsiteHimuro Shrine (Japanese text only)

The Great Buddha of Todai-ji Temple

東大寺
Todaiji-temple and cherry blossom

If you are planning to visit Nara, you may have already included this visit in your schedule: Todai-ji temple and its famous Great Buddha. The temple is symbolic of the Nara period as it was established by Emperor Shomu in 734. The Great Buddha hall is known as the largest wooden building in the world.

During the cherry blossom season, many cherry trees around the Great Buddha hall are in bloom, especially on the the path between the rear of the Great Buddha hall from Nigatsu-do Hall and Sangatsu-do Hall, and on the path between Kagami-ike Pond and Mt. Wakakusa.
When you go through the Chu-mon gate after paying an admission fee, you’ll see a some more drooping cherry trees  along the corridor of the Great Buddha hall.

Todai-ji Temple

  • Address:406-1 Zoshi-cho, Nara city, Nara Prefecture
  • Getting there:20-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station / 5-minute walk from “Todai-ji Daibutsu-den Kasuga Taisha mae” bus stop of Nara Kotsu Bus
  • WebsiteTodai-ji Temple

 

While you are in Nara Prefecture, Mt. Yoshino is also a famous spot for viewing cherry blossoms. Do not miss our article:
Why Mt. Yoshino is the best spot for cherry blossoms in the Nara area

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AUTHOR

kyoami

kyoami

Writer/ Translator

I love Japanese folkcraft article, traditional handicrafts and antiques. I’m seeking the Japanese people’s religious outlooks and its origins that are behind Japanese people’s unique sense and techniques rooted in the ordinary life.

Information

Address 543 Shibatsuji-cho, Nara city, Nara Prefecture
Hours -
Price -
Close -
Access 5-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station / 20-minute walk from JR Nara Station
Phone 0742-22-0375
Website http://nara-park.com