Nara-machi Area

Nara, Kansai

Gokuraku-do, rebuilt and renovated from a monks' dormitory. Rows of white plastered houses with wooden latticework.

It is said that Gango-ji Temple, which is located to the south of the Sarusawa-no-ike Pond and which is also known as Gokuraku-bo (paradise temple), was founded in the late 8th century when Asuka-dera Temple, which is generally regarded to be the oldest temple in Japan, was relocated from Asuka to Heijo-kyo Palace.

At its peak, the temple had been considered to be one of the seven most prominent temples in Nara. However, it caught fire twice, once in the 15th century and again in the 19th century, and now only the remains of the East Great Pagoda and the West Minor Pagoda, as well as Gokuraku-bo consisting of Gokuraku-do Hall and a zen room, are found there as reminders of those days. The Gokuraku-bo, which is registered as a national treasure, used to be the monks' dormitory but has been renovated as a temple. It is significant for its 13th century architecture and its roof tiles, which show a strong influence of the Paekche architecture of the Korean Peninsula.

The area which was once the precincts of Gango-ji Temple is now called Nara-machi, and still preserves the atmosphere of the early 19th century town. A town was rapidly built within the precincts of the temple that had been burned down, and it developed as the commercial and industrial center of Yamato Province (current Nara Prefecture). The streets of Nara-machi feature white stucco walls and wooden lattice windows providing visitors with a warm impression of daily town life. This area, with its laid-back and modern shops and cafes renovated from old town houses, is extremely popular, offering visitors the chance to see another aspect of Nara that is different from that of an old city.


From Osaka:
[Rail] 35 min from Kintetsu Namba to Kintetsu Nara Station by Kintetsu Nara Line (rapid express).
From Tokyo:
[Rail] 2h 15 min to Kyoto Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line (Nozomi), and 35 min from Kyoto to Kintetsu Nara Station by Kintetsu Kyoto Line (limited express).
*It takes 2h 45 min from Tokyo to Kyoto Station by Hikari Shinkansen.

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