All posts tagged: yoshino

The Best of Nara

Nara and Kyoto are the two biggest tourist destinations in Japan. Kyoto, the more famous of the two, is home to both the remaining geisha and the iconic golden pavilion. Nara, however, is the heart of Japanese Buddhism. Its temples are not just world heritage sites, but are often the largest, oldest and most sacred of their type. Standing among the pagodas and cherry trees it is possible to imagine Japan before cell phones, neon lights and the tsunami of concrete. Nara was Japan’s first permanent capital, and remains as one of the world’s great cities. Nara is not a large city and nearly all the historic sites are located in and around Nara Park. Tour groups on a day trip often complete a brief circuit of Kofuku-ji Temple, Todai-ji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine in a matter of hours before returning to Kyoto or Osaka. Visitors, who prefer to travel without a megaphone wielding guide, would be better off spending two or three days on a tranquil journey of discovery, rather than an afternoon …