Nara Discovery and Temple Stay - Tour of Japan - Japanspecialist

Nara Discovery Tour and Temple Stay

5 Days

From EUR 690,-


Experience Japan's fascinating history and spiritual soul.

You will explore Japan's ancient capital Nara, where ancient treasures are hidden around every corner. You then continue to the beautiful Mt. Koya (Koyasan), one of the most sacred places in the country. You will experience an overnight stay at a shukubo (temple lodging) where you can get a taste of a monk's lifestyle, eating vegetarian monk's cuisine (shojin ryori) and attending the morning prayers. The whole area offers many opportunities to get close to Japanese Buddhism for a fascinating spiritual exploration.

Suggested itinerary

Day 1

The small town of Nara, close to Kyoto, was Japan's very first capital. You have two nights at a traditional Japanese inn (ryokan), nestled in the middle of this charming city's historical treasures.

Visit Nara Park, where you can pet and feed the friendly deer. They are considered the gods' messengers and therefore they can roam freely in this holy place. The park leads to the Todai-ji temple. Inside is the world's largest bronze Buddha statue.

Make your way to the beautiful and colourful Kasuga Taisha Shrine which is one of the most important in the Japanese religion, Shinto. It was founded at the same time as Nara itself, and was for many years ritually destroyed and rebuilt every 20 years - a reminder of the transience of life.

After exploring the park and surrounding area, head to Naramachi, the old town where you will find traditional and well-preserved houses. Remember to visit a sake brewery as sake originates from Nara.

Day 2

The outskirts of Nara, often forgotten by tourists, are also rich in cultural treasures. You can take a short train ride to Horyu-ji temple. Founded in 607, it's one of Japan's oldest temples and contains the world's oldest wooden buildings.

During cherry blossoms, in early April, it is recommended to take a day trip to Mt Yoshino, a spectacular cherry blossom spot, with over 30.000 cherry trees planted around the mountain's slopes. Then, return to your ryokan for dinner.

After two days in Nara, your journey continues to the holy place of Mt. Koya. The mountain is the resting place of Kobo Daishi, the man who introduced a form of Buddhism called Shingon ("the true word") to Japan.

On Mt. Koya, you'll stay in a temple with the monks. You get the opportunity to join morning prayer and eat the delicious vegetarian monk diet called shojin ryori. There are many temples in Mt. Koya, all with their own distinctive features.

The absolute holiest site in the area is the large burial site Okunoin, where you can find the grave of Kobo Daishi.He entered an eternal meditation so that he could pass on his insight, and every day a monk brings food to his grave. Many other important historical figures have been buried here.

After breakfast at your temple, a scenic train ride will take you back to the material world, to the city of Osaka. You have one night in a central western hotel. Osaka is considered by many as their most colourful and unpretentious metropolis. Taste the local street foods like takoyaki or okonomiyaki and stroll through the animated downtown areas of Namba or Dotombori.

Continue your journey to another destination in Japan or take a flight home from Osaka.


The following types of accommodation are recommended for this tour

Japan has quite a number of different types of accommodation, from Western hotels to traditional Japanese inns.

Please note, all our tours are tailor-made so we can arrange whatever accommodation required to meet your specific needs.

Ryokan + 5 Photos

A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn that offers a unique cultural experience. Guests sleep on tatami mats, enjoy traditional meals and may have hot springs & gardens.

Western Style Hotel + 5 Photos
Western Style Hotel

Western-style hotels in Japan offer comfort and convenience with amenities like room service and fitness centers. Many are located in major cities and near popular destinations.

Temple Stay + 5 Photos
Temple Stay

Temple stays in Japan offer a unique opportunity to experience traditional Buddhist culture. Guests can participate in meditation, religious ceremonies and learn about temple life.

What is included

What is included

  • 1 night in western style accommodation
  • 2 nights in Japanese-style ryokan
  • 1 night in Japanese-style temple stay
  • Breakfast and dinner (selected locations)
  • Transport tickets between destinations

What is not included

  • International return flight tickets
  • Checked luggage
  • Airport transfers
  • Local transport (buses, metro, taxis)
  • Local city tax which needs to be paid on the spot
  • Optional excursions and sightseeing tours
  • Travel insurance

Please note, this is just an example of a tailor-made tour. The services described as included and not included will differ based on your requirements. At Japanspecialist we are happy to accommodate all your requests when creating your personalised tour.

For more details please see our Terms and Conditions.

Arrange your consultation with an expert

Our experienced travel consultants are ready to customise this itinerary and arrange your dream holiday today. You can either schedule an online meeting with one of our consultants or fill out an enquiry form and we will get back to you with a personalised tailor-made offer.

The price of this service starts at EUR 50,- and is fully reimbursable if you book your tour with us.

What is covered during the consultation?

Trip budget
Travel dates
Your questions
Final bookings

Experience Japan your way with our experts

We are part of JTB, the largest travel company in Japan and one of the biggest in the world, with over 100 years of experience. We are passionate about this wonderful country, having spent decades designing adventurous itineraries for our clients.

Your tailor-made holiday in four simple steps

Schedule an online call or fill out an enquiry form
Finalise your requirements and preferences
Receive your custom itinerary and quote
Complete your booking and enjoy your trip

The price of this service starts at EUR 50,- and is fully reimbursable if you book your tour with us.