Nara, Nara: Wikis


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—  Core city  —
奈良市 · Nara City
A view over the city, Tōdai-ji (front, right) and the Prefectural Government office (left)

Location of Nara in Nara Prefecture
Nara is located in Japan
Coordinates: 34°41′N 135°48′E / 34.683°N 135.8°E / 34.683; 135.8
Country Japan
Region Kansai
Prefecture Nara Prefecture
 - Mayor Gen Nakagawa
 - Total 276.84 km2 (106.9 sq mi)
(December 31, 2005)
 - Density 1,348.03/km2 (3,491.4/sq mi)
City Symbols
 - Tree Quercus gilva
 - Flower Nara yaezakura
 - Bird Japanese Bush Warbler
Website City of Nara
Phone number 0742-34-1111

1-1-1 Nijō-ōji, Nara-shi, Nara-ken

Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara*
UNESCO World Heritage Site
State Party  Japan
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv, vi
Reference 870
Region** Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 1998  (22nd Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Nara (奈良市 Nara-shi ?) is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. The city occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture, directly bordering Kyoto Prefecture. Eight temples, shrines and ruins in Nara, specifically Tōdai-ji, Saidai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangō-ji, Yakushi-ji, Tōshōdai-ji and Heijō Palace remains, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest, collectively form "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



for pre-modern history of Nara

Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784, lending its name to the Nara period. The original city, Heijō-kyō, was modelled after the capital of Tang Dynasty China, Chang'an (present-day Xi'an). According to the ancient Japanese book Nihon Shoki, the name "Nara" derived from the Japanese word narashita meaning "made flat".[1][2]

The temples of Nara remained powerful even beyond the move of the political capital to Heian-kyō in 794, thus giving Nara a synonym of Nanto (lit. meaning "South Capital") as opposed to Heian-kyō, situated in the North.

In 2010 Nara is celebrating its 1300th anniversary as the previous capital of Japan.[3]


Modern Nara

In the modern age, as the seat of the prefectural government, Nara has developed into a local center of commerce and government. The city was officially incorporated on February 1, 1898.


The city of Nara lies in the north end of Nara Prefecture, directly bordering itself to Kyoto Prefecture in its north side. The city is 22.22 km from North to South, and 33.51 km from East to West. As a result of the latest merger, effective April 1, 2005, that combined the villages of Tsuge and Tsukigase into the city of Nara, the city now borders directly to Mie Prefecture in its east as well. The total area is 276.84 km².[4]

The downtown of Nara is on the east side of the ancient Heijō Palace site, occupying the northern part of what was called the Gekyō (外京), literally the outer capital area. Many of the public offices (e.g. the Municipal office, the Nara Prefectural government, the Nara Police headquarters, etc.) are located on Nijō-ōji (二条大路), while Nara branch offices of major nationwide banks are on Sanjō-ōji (三条大路), both avenues running east-west.

The highest point in the city is at the peak of Kaigahira-yama, alt.822.0m (Tsugehayama-cho district), and the lowest is in Ikeda-cho district, with an altitude of 56.4m.[5]


The climate of Nara Prefecture is overall warm, while there are important differences between the north-western basin area and the rest of the prefecture, that is, in the mountains.

In the basin area the climate has an inland characteristics, as represented in the bigger temperature variance within the same day, and the difference of summer and winter temperatures. Winter temperatures average about 3 to 5°C, and 25 - 28°C in the summer with highest reaching close to 35°C. There is not a single year over the last decade (since 1990, up to 2007) with more than 10 days of snowfall recorded by Nara Local Meteorological Observatory.

The climate in the rest of the prefecture are mountainous, and especially in the south, with below −5°C being the extreme minimum in winter. Heavy rainfall is observed in summer. The annual accumulated rainfall ranges as much as 3000 to 5000 mm, which is among the heaviest in Japan.

Spring and fall are both temperate and beautiful. The mountainous region of Yoshino has been popular both historically and presently for its beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring. In the fall, the southern mountains are equally beautiful with the changing of the oak trees.

Nara, 2008 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average °C 3.8 4.3 7.3 13.5 18.0 21.9 26.1 27.1 23.0 16.6 11.0 6.6 15.0
Rainfall (mm) 54.0 67.5 102.5 134.5 213.0 144.5 91.0 162.5 163.5 71.5 54.5 41.5 1300.5



As of 2005, the city has an estimated population of 373,189 and a population density of 1,348 persons per km². There were 147,966 households residing in Nara. The highest concentraton of both households and population, respectively about 46,000 and 125,000, is found along the newer bedtown districts, along the Kintetsu line connecting to Osaka. There were about 3,000 registered foreigners in the city, of which Koreans and Chinese are the two largest groups with about 1,200 and 800 people respectively. There were slightly less than 1,200 deer in Nara in 2005.[4][5]

One of the Nara park entrances
Deer roaming in central Nara among Sapium sebiferum trees


Wildlife in Nara

Tame deer roam through the town, especially in Nara Park. These deer might not be considered "tame" should the visitor not have any "shika sembei - Deer Biscuits" when they see them.

According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, a mythological god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Since then the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country.[7] Snack vendors sell small biscuits to visitors so they can enjoy feeding the deer. Some of the deer have learned to bow in response to tourists' bows. They nudge, jostle, and even bite for food.


As of 2005, there are 16 high schools and 6 universities located in the city of Nara.


Nara Women's University is one of only two national women's universities in Japan.

Primary and secondary education

Public schools

Public elementary and junior high schools are operated by the city of Nara.

Public high schools are operated by the Nara Prefecture.

Private schools

Private high schools in Nara include the Todaiji Gakuen, a private school founded by the temple in 1926.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Nara, according to its own official record, has three sister cities in Japan and five sister cities overseas.[8][9]

Japan In Japan

Outside Japan



  1. ^ "奈良の語源" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2006-05-24.  
  2. ^ Yamada Munemutsu 山田宗睦, trans. Nihon shoki 日本書紀. Vol. 1. Newton Press ニュートンプレス, 1992. p. 159.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "City Profile of Nara". Nara City. 2007-04-02. Retrieved 2007-04-02.   For more details and latest figures, navigate to the equivalent Japanese page at the official homepage[1]
  5. ^ a b "奈良市統計書「統計なら」平成17年版(2005年版)(Nara City Statistics, Year 2005 Edition)" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2007-04-02.  
  6. ^ GHCN Climate averages 1953-1990, GISTEMP, Goddard Institute of Space Studies
  7. ^ "奈良のシカの歴史 (The history of deers in Nara)" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2007-04-02.  
  8. ^
  9. ^ Vladimir, Russia recognizes Nara as one of its sister cities, while Nara does not.Sister cities of Vladimir
  10. ^ "Canberra's international relationships - Canberra's international relationships". Retrieved 2009-10-20.  

External links


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