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Nara, the Original Capital City of Culture

August 24, 2017 by Mark Guthrie

Some 1,300 years ago the Empress Genmei established the seat of power in the mountainous area of Heijō-kyō, and in doing so created the country’s first ever permanent capital. With the nation being ruled from the city (present-day Nara) this time has come to be known as the Nara period. Today Nara is a small and compact city that, […]

Take a Dip in Nara’s Water Holes this Summer

May 23, 2017 by Justin Hanus

Looking to get outside as the summer season heats up? Although there are many places throughout Kansai to explore, checking out some of the region’s natural water spots might be in your best interest, especially as those temperatures rise! Of course the beaches lining Osaka Bay are worth a visit or two, but heading further […]

Top 5 Spring Hiking Destinations in Japan

March 23, 2017 by Justin Hanus

With 73% of Japan’s land mass being mountains, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts certainly have their pick of gorgeous terrain to explore throughout the country. Of course there are some popular highlights that should remain repeat offenders on your Japan bucket list, like Mount Fuji. But if you’re interested in some seasonally-specific hikes that are sure […]

The National Treasures that Roam through Nara Park

July 22, 2016 by Justin Hanus

Pigs are sacred in Egypt. Cattle are sacred in India. Goats are sacred in Syria. Elephants are sacred in Thailand. In Nara the animals worshiped are deer. Deer have been roaming the Kasuga Hills in these parts since before there was a written language, before there was a Japan. When Nara was established as capital […]

Kyoto and Nara – The One-Time Capital Cities are Storehouses of Japanese Heritage

May 23, 2016 by Justin Hanus

It is quite possible that you may detect some good-natured, chest-puffing sparring between the denizens of Nara and Kyoto over their respective heritage as one-time capitals of Japan. Nara was the first permanent capital of Japan but the government was uprooted after less than one century. When the capital moved to Kyoto it stayed for […]

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