Best Places to Stay in Nara, Japan

Where to Stay in Nara?

Nara is a pretty Japanese city of approximately 365,000 inhabitants with a very rich historical and cultural heritage. Which is not surprising when you know that it was the first fixed capital of Japan (from 710 to 784). Nara is an essential stopover during a stay in the Kansai region, and the presence of more than a thousand sika deer roaming free in the city is not to displease its visitors…

Located a few dozen kilometers from Kyoto and Osaka , it is possible to visit it during the day, during your visit to one of the two big cities. That said, to fully enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the multitude of things to see in Nara, it may be best to stay there for a night or even two.

In Nara there are many ryokans (traditional Japanese inns), Airbnb apartments, hostels and hotels in a more or less modern style, for all budgets. However, remember to book in advance because the small town attracts many curious people. (You can consult this hotel comparator to find the best deal!)
So where to stay in Nara? Here is some information that might help you choose.

To read also:
The 10 essential things to do in Nara


accommodation in NaraPhoto credit: Wikipedia – 663highland

If you are looking for a place to stay in Nara in an authentic atmosphere, head for the narrow streets of Naramachi, the oldest and most picturesque district of the city. It is also the old shopping district of Nara, and that is why today souvenir shops rub shoulders with more traditional shops, machiya ( old Japanese houses, some open to the public) or even a few cafes. .

Ideally located, this district is only about a quarter of an hour’s walk from the JR and Kintetsu stations in Nara. You will then be staying near many places of interest such as the Gango-ji Temple, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Shiryôkan and Kogeikan museums ( Nara Craft Museum ), the machiya Koshi-no-le or the Imanishike Shoin residence. .

Find a hotel in Naramachi


accommodation in NaraPhoto credit: Instagram – philth85

Quieter, to the west of the city, the district of Nishinokyo (near the eponymous station ) will particularly delight lovers of large and ancient temples who will be able to discover Toshodai-ji, Yakushiji and Saidai-ji, three temples founded between the 7th and 8th century. From Nara, Nishinokyo is easily accessible by train or bus (about a 15-minute ride).

Note however: the hotel offer is quite limited!

Find a hotel in Nishinokyo

Downtown Nara

accommodation in NaraCrédit photo: Flickr – Fredrik Rubensson

Where to stay in Nara? You can opt for accommodation in the city center, not far from Kintetsu station. Unsurprisingly, it is in this district that the city’s many restaurants, cafes and shops are concentrated (Higashimuki shopping arcade, Sanjō-dōri avenue, etc.), but it is also an excellent base for visiting many must-sees (the Kôfuku-ji and Tôdai-ji temples, the Nara National Museum, its huge park, etc.).

Find a hotel in downtown Nara

Around Nara

As explained above, it is quite possible to visit Nara during the day while staying in Kyoto or Osaka, its two large neighbours.


accommodation in Nara
By staying in accommodation close to the main JR Kyoto station, you can then travel to the pretty town of Nara in about 45 minutes. Accommodations around Kyoto Station are plentiful, but they are also more classic and modern. It is nevertheless a wise choice for discovering Kyoto (near buses, trains, bicycle rental agencies, etc.).

Good to know: to find where to stay in Kyoto during your stay, go to our article “Best accommodation to stay in Kyoto” 

Find a hotel in Kyoto


accommodation in Nara

Like Kyoto, Osaka is less than an hour’s journey from Nara, but it may be preferable to focus on the area around the central station (Umeda) so as not to waste more time in transport. You will thus stay in one of the liveliest districts of Osaka where the atmosphere is noticeably different from that of Nara!

Find a hotel in Osaka

Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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