With so many places to explore in Japan, repeat visits beckon, each ancient city here offers a unique Japanese culture, just like Nara. Despite having 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Nara is largely overshadowed by its more famous neighbors – Osaka and Kyoto. Most tourists often skip this first permanent capital of Japan, while those who drop by here oftentimes only have a day to spend. Thankfully, the city is condensed so it is possible squeeze in the top attractions in Nara in one day. Here’s a sample Nara Itinerary for one day tour from Osaka and Nara day trip from Kyoto with breakdown of expenses.
NARA ONE DAY ITINERARY WITH BUDGET
The sample budget below is supposing you will enter all the temples with entrance fees. If you don’t intend to enter all the temples, budget will be lower/span>. I recommend entering the Todaiji Temple, which houses the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha enshrined in the largest wooden building in the world.
|07:00 AM||Osaka to Nara train:|
JPY 560/PHP 262 (EURO 4/USD 5/SGD 7/MYR 22)
Kyoto to Nara train:
Train fare to Kintetsu Nara Station is JPY 620/PHP 288 (USD 6/EURO 5/SGD 8/MYR 24)
Train fare to Nara Station is (JR LINE) JPY 710 /PHP 332 (EURO 6/USD 7 /SGD 9/MYR 30)
If coming from Osaka, take either JR Line train at Osaka-Namba Station and alight at Nara Station or Kintetsu Line (see getting there instruction below this post) train at Osaka-Namba Station and get off at Kintetsu-Nara Station.
From Kyoto you can either travel to Kintetsu Nara Station or Nara Station (you can use your JR West Pass).
TO KINTETSU NARA STATION: From Kyoto Station, take the Kintetsu Kyoto Like Express and alight at Kintetsu Nara Station. Transit time is roughly 46 minutes. Train fare is JPY 620/PHP 288 (USD 6/EURO 5/SGD 8/MYR 24). Nara Park is about 5 minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station.
TO NARA STATION: From Kyoto Station, take the JR Nara Line for Nara Station. Travel time is about 1 hour 9 minutes. Train fare to Nara Station is (JR LINE) JPY 710 /PHP 332 (EURO 6/USD 7 /SGD 9/MYR 30). Nara Park is about 20 minute walk from Nara Station.
ETA Kintetsu Nara Station if you took Kintetsu Line or Nara Station if you took the JR Line. Walk to Nara Park (see instructions below).
If coming from Kintetsu Nara Station, Nara Park is approximately 5 minute walk.
If coming from Nara Station, Nara Park is roughly 20 minute by foot. You may ride City Loop Bus #2 (yellow bus) at JR Nara Station East Exit Bus Terminal. Alight at Nara Park.
ETA Nara Park. Start Tour. Explore Nara Park, buy deer crackers and feed the deer.
|08:30 AM||JPY 300 (PHP 136.29/ USD 3/SGD 4/MYR 200)|
Walk to Kofukuji Temple. If you plan to enter the Easter Golden hall there is an entrance fee.
|09:30 AM||JPY 500 (PHP 227/USD 5/ SGD 6/MYR 19)|
Walk to Gangoji Temple. If you plan to enter the temple, pay the entrance fee.
|10:00 AM||JPY 520 (PHP 236/USD 5/ SGD 6.39/MYR 20)|
Walk to Nara Museum. If you plan to enter. Pay the entrance fee.
|10:20 AM||JPY 500 (PHP 227/USD 5/ SGD 6/MYR 19)|
Head to Kasuga Taisha Shrine. If you plan to enter the inner temples, pay the entrance fee.
|11:30 AM||JPY 500 (PHP 227/USD 5/ SGD 6/MYR 19)||Lunch|
|12:30 PM||JPY 500 (PHP 227/USD 5/ SGD 6/MYR 19)|
Walk to Todaiji Temple. To enter the temple and see the gigantic Buddha, pay the entrance fee.
|01:30 PM||Walk back to Kintetsu Nara Station.|
|01:50 PM||JPY 210/PHP 95(EURO 2/USD 2/SGD 3/MYR 8)|
ETD for Heijo Palace. Take the train to Yamato-Saidaiji Station. And walk towars Heijo Palace. It’s about a 20 minute walk.
From Kintetsu Nara Station, you can take any of the following trains:
Train to Kobe-Sanonomiya and alight at Yamato-Saidaiji Station.
Train to Amagasaki and get off at Yamato-Saidaiji Station.
Train to Kyoto and alight at Yamato-Saidaiji Station.
Train to Osaka-Namba Station and get off at Yamato-Saidaiji Station.
You may also take the bus at Kintetsu Nara Station and alight at the bus stop near Heijo Palace.
|03:00 PM||JPY 150 /PHP 70 (EURO 1.16/ USD 1.37/ SGD 2/ MYR 6)||Walk back to Yamato-Saidaiji Station. Take train to Nishinokyo Station. Transit time is about 10 minutes.|
|03:10 PM||JPY 600 (PHP 272/USD 5.42/SGD 2.46/MYR 23)||ETA Nishinokyo Station. Walk to Toshodaiji Temple. Explore Temple.|
|04:00 PM||JPY 600 (PHP 272/USD 5.42/SGD 2.46/MYR 23)||Walk to Yakushiji Temple. Explore.|
|05:00 PM||JPY 150 /PHP 70 (EURO 1.16/ USD 1.37/ SGD 2/ MYR 6)||Walk back to Nishinokyo Station. Take train to Yamato-Saidaiji Station.|
|05:10 PM||JPY 560/PHP 262 (EURO 4/USD 5/SGD 7/MYR 22)|
|End of Nara Tour. ETA Yamato-Saidaiji Station. Take train to either Osaka, Kyoto or Nara.|
|TOTAL EXPENSES||JPY 5,130/PHP 2,396 (EURO 40/ USD 47/ SGD 64/ MYR 202)|
ALSO READ: WHAT TO DO IN NARA IN 1 DAY
CHEAP NARA DAY TOUR FROM KYOTO
If you are pressed for time or you want a hassle-free tour of Nara, you can actually book a Nara day tour from Osaka. Here are some of the cheapest tour I’ve seen that includes Kyoto + Nara Tour from Osaka.
Kyoto, Nara & Arashiyama Day Tour from Osaka
This is a perfect day tour to Kyoto and Nara for those who are pressed for time. Not to mention that the tour package is cheap. You will visit the main sites of Nara such as Nara Park, Tōdai-ji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine. By lunch, you will have free time to explore Ninenzaka, Sannenzaka and Kiyomizu-dera temple before heading to Arashiyama. Additionally, you get a bonus – a FREE Harukas 300 Observatory Pass valued at JPY 1,500 (PHP 681/ USD 14/ SGD 18/ MYR 58).
Tour package includes: Hotel pick up and drop off (please indicate your hotel details at checkout), guide and driver service fee, Transportation and HARUKAS 300 Observatory Pass.
ARASHIYAMA AND NARA DAY TOUR FROM OSAKA
The full day guided tour will take you to the picturesque Arashiyama where you can walk along the Bamboo Forest. You will also get to explore Nara that is peppered with 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here you can get up close with the Japanese national treasures of Todaiji Temple and Daibutsu Buddha and get a chance to feed the sacred deer of Nara Park. Roundtrip transport and English-speaking guide is included in the tour package. Lunch is optional.
HOW TO GET TO NARA FROM OSAKA
Nara is closer to Osaka than Kyoto. So if you are coming from Osaka, you can ride either JR Line or Kintetsu Line. If you choose JR Line, the train departs from Osaka Station. On the other hand if you opt for Kintetsu Line, the train departs from Kintentsu Namba Station.
From Osaka-Namba Station walk to JR Namba Station for about 9 minutes. At JR Namba Station, take the tain at JR Yamatoji Line to Nara Station. Alight at Nara Station. Transit time is roughly 44 minutes. Train fare is JPY 560/PHP 262 (EURO 4/USD 5/SGD 7/MYR 22). From Nara Station, Nara Park is about a 20 minute walk. You may also take a bus to Nara Park from Nara Station. Just look for the Bus terminal at JR Nara Station East Exit. Board the City Loop Line Bus #2 (it’s a yellow bus) from bus stop 2. Transit time is about 20 minutes and fare is JPY 210 / PHP 95 (EURO 2/USD 2/SGD 3/MYR 8). Alight at Nara Park.
NOTE: If you have a JR WEST RAIL PASS, you can use it here.
From Osaka-Namba Station, you can take the train at Kintetsu Nara Line. Alight at Kintetsu Nara Station. Train fare is JPY 560/PHP 262 (EURO 4/USD 5/SGD 7/MYR 22) and travel time is 39 minutes. From Kintetsu Nara Station, Nara Park is about a 5 minute walk.
HOW TO GET TO NARA FROM KYOTO
From Kyoto, you have two options by train to get to Nara .
If you have a JR Rail Pass, you can opt for this option since you can use your pass here. From Kyoto Station, take the train at JR Nara Line to Nara. Travel time is 45 minutes and fare is JPY 710 /PHP 332 (EURO 6/USD 7 /SGD 9/MYR 30). From Nara Station, you can reach Nara Park (where most attractions are concentrated) for about 20 minutes by foot. Alternatively, you can take a bus to Nara Park from JR Nara Station East Exit Bus Terminal. Board Bus # 2, the yellow bus for City Loop Bus for JPY 210 / PHP 95 (EURO 2/USD 2/SGD 3/MYR 8). Transit time is about 20 minutes.
If you don’t have a JR Pass, your best bet is to take the express Kintetsu Line train at Kyoto Station. From Kyoto Station, take the Kintetsu Kyoto Line Exoress for Kintetsu Nara Station. Travel tim is 49 minutes and fare is JPY 620/PHP 289 (EURO 5/USD 6/SGD 8/MYR 24). From Kintetsu Nara Station, Nara Park is about a 5 minute walk.
TIP: For train schedules and fare rates, visit Hyperdia.com
POCKET-WIFI RENTAL JAPAN
Since English is not widely-spoken in Japan, asking for directions can be hard. Best to stay connected online to use Google Maps and Google Translate. You can rent pocket Wi-Fi in advance before you fly to Japan and just pick it up at the airport. Wi-Fi devices are in demand and may ran out quickly, so booking in advance is highly recommended, not to mention you will avoid long lines. You can reserve pocket Wi-Fi through the link below.
WHERE TO STAY IN NARA
Should you decide to stay in overnight or for 2 days in Nara, there are a couple of budget hotels around the city center. Don’t forget to ask about the check-out time and their luggage policy, some budget hotels (like the one we stayed at) doesn’t allow guests to leave their luggage after check out. If this is the case, you can leave your luggage at Nara Tourist Center near Nara Station for JPY 500 / PHP 234 (EURO 4 / USD 10/ SGD 13/ MYR 42).
Here’s a list of best budget hotels in nara, near Nara Park.
NARA BUDGET HOTELS
Nara Deer Hostel
593-17 Sanjōchō, Nara City Center, Nara
Guest House Iki
1-5 Kamisanjo-cho, Nara City Center, Nara
Guest House Route53 Furuichi
6 Higashiterabayashi-cho, Nara City Center, Nara
NARA JAPAN TRAVEL TIPS
⊗ If you are taking the City Bus Loop in Nara, fixed fare is JPY 210 (PHP 95/USD 2/SGD 3/MYR 8) for adults and JPY 110 (PHP 50/USD 0.99/SGD 1.35/MYR 4.25) for children.
⊗ If you will stay overnight in Nara, make sure your hotel allows luggage storage as the check-out time here is quite early – 9:00 AM.
⊗ You can leave your luggage at Nara Tourist Information Center near Nara Station for JPY 500 / PHP 234 (EURO 4 / USD 10/ SGD 13/ MYR 42) per luggage for one day.
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