Photo of Nara

About Nara

Second only to Kyoto when it comes to sites of incredible historic and cultural beauty, Nara was Japan's very first capital city. Built around a 500+ hectare park studded with ancient temples and ruins, this fascinating destination dates back 1300 years. Visitors will find a good selection of traditional and contemporary accommodation options, fit for a range of tastes and budgets. Our list of the best places to stay in Nara includes classic ryokans as well as slick city hotels, clustered close to the impressive Nara Park.

The park is endlessly intriguing. Take guided tours of the Todai-ji Temple — home to the largest Buddha in Japan — or of Kofuku-ji Temple and the Kasuga Grand Shrine, characterised by thousands of carved stone lanterns. The Nara National Museum is filled with heritage artefacts, many of which reflect the area’s long Buddhist history. You’ll also find herds of wild deer roaming the park, which is wonderful for long strolls. Come during the spring to see the 1700 or so cherry trees in bloom: magic.

Other highlights include the Isuien Gardens, Mt Wakakusa, and the Naramachi area. Relaxed ambles, active cycle rides or challenging treks await. Retreat to the best places to stay in Nara for restorative onsen baths, massages and kaiseki cuisine.

The Best Places to Stay in Nara

For Traditional Charm

  • Kankaso Ryokan promises an intimate, low-key stay. The ryokan's 10 rooms are nestled amidst pretty Japanese gardens, and interiors feature tatami matting and paper screens. Regional dishes can be savoured in the guest rooms or the shared dining area. A quiet choice, right on the edge of Nara Park.
  • Nara Kasuga Hotel is a classic ryokan with 32 rooms, the best of which have big baths and massage chairs. Expect Japanese-style interiors, excellent kaiseki cuisine, and onsens for long soaks.
  • Hakushikaso offers 26 traditional rooms with paper shutters, low-level dining tables and tatami matting. The 2,000-year-old cypress wood bath is perfect for unwinding after exploring the city. A relaxed choice for those eager to experience a ryokan stay.

For Families

  • Asukasou has all the hallmarks of a classic ryokan, with onsens, minimalist Japanese-style rooms and a sense of tranquility. Larger rooms with extra beds make it a great choice for families or groups, who will also enjoy the karaoke room!

For Luxury

  • Nara Hotel is a local landmark, and has hosted heads of state and celebrities since the early 20th Century. Opened in 1909, the hotel boasts elegant rooms with high ceilings, antique furnishings and fireplaces. There are two atmospheric onsite restaurants and a glamorous bar. One for history buffs.
  • Noborioji Hotel is a luxurious gem next to Nara Park. Minimalist rooms channel contemporary cool, and floor-to-ceiling windows reveal views of the park. Expect delectable French fare at Le Bois, the hotel's gourmet restaurant. For romantic couples and foodies.

FOR AN APARTMENT or Holiday Villa

  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • The closest large airport is Osaka's Kansai International Airport, an hour's drive from Nara. Alternatively, the journey from Kyoto takes less than an hour by car or train.
  • The centre of Nara is best navigated by public transport, but you may want to drive if you're exploring beyond the city itself. Contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car.
  • Travel during the summer, spring or early autumn, when temperatures range between 20 and 30°C degrees. Winters are cold and less appealing for exploring; the spring cherry blossom in Nara Park is magical.



Monthly Weather in Nara

Best Hotels in Nara

  • Asukasou Nara 31 rooms from £105

    Sights nearby  -  The Kofukuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is just 3 minutes' walk away
    Local exploring  -  A centrally located property with easy access to historic temples and museums
    Hotel Entertainment  -  The hotel's karaoke room is perfect for an evening of singing with friends
    Families  -  Large rooms with space for extra beds are ideal for family trips
    Air conditioningRestaurantParkingNo pets

    A chic hotel located in the heart of Nara. Contemporary rooms are Japanese in design with paper screens, floor level dining room tables and large windows letting in plenty of light. A selection of onsens provide quiet spots for complete relaxation. The perfect base for city exploring. See More

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  • Kankaso Ryokan Nara (Kasuga-machi) 10 rooms from £141

    Great walks  -  Step outside to explore Nara Park, which spans over 500 hectares and is home to interesting wildlife
    Local exploring  -  Situated close to Nara Park and with many of the city's main attractions within walking distance
    Museums  -  Visit the Nara National Museum, which houses an impressive collection of Buddhist artefacts
    Hideaway  -  A tranquil, traditional choice for an intimate stay, with a lovely Japanese garden

    A traditional ryokan nestled amidst pretty gardens, adjacent to the impressive Nara Park. Japanese-style rooms are light and airy with tatami mats, paper screens & lovely views. Regional meals are served in the guest rooms or the dining area. Atmospheric & well-located for seeing the historic city. See More

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  • Nara Hotel Nara 132 rooms from £145

    Cycling  -  Hope aboard one of the hotel's electric bikes to cycle up the surrounding hills for striking views, or into town to explore
    Great walks  -  Strolls through Isuien Garden or Nara Park - with its 1700 cherry trees - come highly recommended
    City Style  -  A historic hotel, with a timeless sense of style; the perfect base for discovering Nara
    Business meetings  -  Meeting spaces make this an imposing choice for a business trip or formal event
    Air conditioningRestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    A historic property featuring classic Japanese architecture. Elegant rooms boast high beamed ceilings, antique furniture, floor-to-ceiling windows and fireplaces. Playing host to two elegant restaurants and a glamorous bar, this is an atmospheric landmark hotel, ideal for exploring the ancient city. See More

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  • Nara Kasuga Hotel Nara 32 rooms from £182

    Total relaxation  -  Big baths and massage chairs in the larger rooms, plus public baths in shared areas, are ideal for unwinding
    Families  -  Spacious Western or Japanese rooms are well-suited to families or groups of friends travelling together
    Cycling  -  Take a guided bike tour of Nara and the surrounding hills for a sense of the area's rich history
    Trekking  -  Climb Mt. Wakakusa for impressive city and temple rooftop views
    Air conditioningRestaurantParkingNo pets

    A traditional property next to Nara Park & the Kofuku-ji Temple. Japanese-style rooms feature tatami mats and low-level dining tables; the best have baths & massage chairs. Western rooms are also available. A number of onsens provide tranquil spots for unwinding before tucking into kaiseki cuisine. See More

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  • Hakushikaso Nara 26 rooms from £190

    Local exploring  -  Overlooking Nara Park, this is a great spot fo rthose looking to discover the city on foot - and to admire the spring blossom
    Great walks  -  Guided tours of the city centre are brilliant for understanding Nara's historic importance
    Museums  -  The imposing Nara National Museum is well worth visiting
    Total relaxation  -  The 2000-year-old cypress wood bath is seriously special
    Air conditioningParkingNo pets

    A traditional Japanese ryokan next to the picturesque Nara Park. Traditional rooms feature paper shutters enclosing quiet alcoves, low-level dining tables and tatami mats. A 2000-year-old cypress wood bath provides the perfect spot to relax after cycling around the city on the hotel's bikes. See More

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  • Noborioji Hotel Nara 15 rooms from £246

    Museums  -  The Nara National Museum is one of the city's top cultural sites, along with its many ancient temples
    City Style  -  A chic property offering minimalist interiors and fantastic food: a dream city stay
    Cycling  -  Discovering the city on the hotel's bikes is a wonderful part of any trip
    Foodies  -  Expect delicious gourmet French cuisine in the elegant Le Bois restaurant
    Air conditioningRestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    A luxury property nestled in a quiet spot next to Nara Park. Chic rooms ooze minimalist, contemporary cool, with big beds and armchairs clad in soft greys and park-facing views. The elegant French restaurant and atmospheric bar invite couples to savour time together in style. Fabulous. See More

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  • Kotonoyado Musashino Nara 12 rooms from £317

    Local exploring  -  Ideally situated close to many of Nara's top attractions, such as the shrine Kasuga Taisha which is a 6 minute walk away
    Great walks  -  The hotel is located in Nara Park, over 1600 acres of parkland home to free roaming deer with paths aplenty
    Total relaxation  -  Enjoy a soothing soak in the communal hot spring bath, or choose a room with private open air bath
    Short break  -  The train station is a 5 minute drive from the hotel, as well as 3 airports approximately an hour's drive away
    Air conditioningRestaurantGardenViewsParking

    A charming Edo-period ryokan located within Nara Park. Twelve traditional rooms feature Japanese style furnishings and architecture; some with balcony and cypress wood tub. Communal hot spring baths and superb local haute cuisine complete the picture. A fantastic base for local exploring. See More

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