Saidai-ji Area

Nara, Kansai

A modern-day political, economic and cultural center, that was a former capital with a history dating back to the 8th century.

Located in the northern part of Nara City, the whole area of Heijo-kyu-seki (the ruins of Heijo Palace) has been preserved as a special historic site. In 710 the capital was moved from Fujiwara-kyo, located at the center of the prefecture, to the area known as Heijo-kyo. It prospered as a political, economic and cultural center of Japan for over 70 years, and was inscribed as the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1998.

The Heijo-kyu Palace was the center of the capital city, and it consisted of the Dairi, the residence of the Emperor, Daigoku-den Hall for all national ceremonies, and the Chodo-in bureaucratic offices. It is said to have been built along the design of Choan, the capital city of China's Tang Dynasty. The 67.5-meter-wide main street, Suzaku-oji, with 7-meter-wide ditches on both sides, once ran as far as 3.8 kilometers, starting from the Rasho-mon Gate at the southern end. The eastern side and western side of the street were called "Sakyo" and "Ukyo," or "Left Palace" and "Right Palace."

The excavation work in the area is still going on, and discoveries at the excavations, including articles found among the remains, are displayed at the Heijo Palace Site Museum, located at the northeast section of the remains.


From Tokyo:
[Rail] 2h 15 min to Kyoto Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line (Nozomi), and 30 min from Kyoto to Yamato-Saidai-ji Station by Kintetsu Kyoto Line (limited express). 10 min from Yamato-Saidai-ji Station to Heijo-kyu-seki by bus.
*It takes 2h 45 min from Tokyo to Kyoto Station by Hikari Shinkansen.
From Osaka:
[Rail] 30 min from Kintetsu Namba to Yamato-Saidai-ji Station by Kintetsu Nara Line (rapid express).

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