Nara, Nara

Nara (奈良市; -shi) is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan, near Kyoto. Seven temples, shrines and ruins in Nara, specifically Todaiji, Kofukuji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangoji, Yakushiji, Toshodaiji and Heijo Palace Remains, collectively form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Kofukuji is an ancient Buddhist temple in the center of Nara
The Kofukuji is an ancient Buddhist temple in the center of Nara


Nara is located in the north of Nara Basin where the fledging Japanese state was born in prehistoric times. The city was built through heavy Baekje and Chinese influence. In Nara and South Korea, it is widely accepted that most of the city's notable monuments (the Great Buddha, Horyuji, etc) were built by Baekje architects and some believe that the city's name itself comes from the Baekje word for "nation" (narat or nara), which has endured to modern times to become the Korean word "nara". Others believe that it is derived from Nadaraka, lit. flat place.

Nara became the capital of Japan from AD 710 to 784. The royal court of Empress Genmei constructed a new capital modelled after the capital of Tang China, Chang'an, in AD 710. High civilization of the Middle Kingdom was introduced into Nara during the eighth century, following the fall of Baekje and the arrival of a massive influx of Korean people. Buddhism flourished under royal patronage. Even after the capital moved to Kyoto in 784, Buddhist temples remained powerful and enjoyed religious fame. Nara had been a Buddhist town for a long time.

In the modern age, Nara developed as a local center of commerce and government, for the prefectural government was seated here. The city was officially incorporated on February 1, 1898.

As of 2003, the city has an estimated population of 364,869 and the density of 1,724.33 persons per km². The total area is 211.60 km².

Todaiji, location of the Great Buddha of Nara
Todaiji, location of the Great Buddha of Nara

Sister cities

Famous places

Missing image
A deer resting near an engraved stone.

Because of its many temples and shrines, Nara is a famous tourist destination. Around temples and shrines, sacred deer wander around the streets and request food from tourists (deer food is sold on the premises).

See also


External links

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