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Nara - Another Old Capital where Japan's heart is still alive
Long before Kyoto started to flourish as Japan's national capital of Heian-kyo in 794, there was another place where, in fact, the foundation of Japan had already been established. That place is Nara, another ancient capital, which has so much to offer that have remained unchanged for over 1,300 years.

Asuka Village
An idyllic village where the mysteries of the ancient capital remain Asuka is a village located almost in the center of Nara Prefecture. As early as the 6th to 8th century, the area developed as the capital city which remained there until the early 8th century. This period is called the Asuka period, during which time the country's foundation was laid while Japan adopted much of the new culture from the continent, including Buddhism.

Many archaeological sites, such as ruins of imperial palaces, Buddhist temples, shrines and burial mounds from the Asuka period are clustered throughout the calm and tranquil rural scenery. Asuka is a special place not only from its historical aspect but also in terms of being a living village where the natural landscape still shows traces of scenes which remind people of ancient times.

Idyllic scenery in the early autumn in Asuka; Splendid spider lilies will welcome visitors in September

Ishibutai Tomb is the largest stone tomb in Japan. This tomb, which is famous for its form created by piling up huge stones, is about 55 meters from east to west and about 52 meters from north to south. It is said that this ancient stone monument was built in the 6th century for Umako Soga, who was the most powerful person in the region.

Ishibutai Tomb

Founded in 596, Asuka Temple was constructed as Japan's first full-scale temple. The highlight is the Asuka Great Buddha statue made in 609 on display in the temple's main hall. It is the oldest known Japanese statue of Buddha in existence.

Asuka Daibutsu sits in Asuka Temple, the oldest existing Buddhist temple in Japan

For more information about Asuka, visit their fully informative English website: english.asukamura.com

Access to Nara from Kyoto

By JR Train, take the Miyakoji Kaisoku Express (approx. 45 min.)
To learn more about Nara, visit official English websites