1-Day Walking Tour in Nara: Palace, Deer and Inkstick

1-Day Walking Tour in Nara: Palace, Deer and Inkstick


All Year Round


09:15 - 16:30

Meeting Place

JR Nara Station


Adult (13+)19,800 JPY
Child (6 - 12)15,500JPY

1-Day Walking Tour in Nara: Palace, Deer and Inkstick

When people think of visiting Japan, they often think of Tokyo, Kyoto, and perhaps Osaka. These cities have bright characteristics, and there are many things to talk about, such as Osaka’s gourmet food and Kyoto’s temples. However, Nara isn’t necessarily on everyone’s ‘must visit’ list and is sometimes overlooked.  When people talk about Nara, the only thing that comes to mind is deer. Of course, the deer themselves are fascinating, and you can get up close, feed them, and even touch them. However, Nara is not just a place for deer. It has a very rich history and culture.

Historically Nara was the capital of Japan and the seat of the Emperor during the Nara period from 710 to 794, before the capital was moved to Kyoto. This ancient capital has three registered World Heritage Sites: “Historical Properties of Ancient Nara,” “Buddhist Monuments around Horyuji Temple,” and “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.” Culturally, the method of making ink was introduced to Japan in 610. It then developed in Nara. More than 90% of Japan’s ink is produced in Nara, and the brand has been established as “Nara Sumi.”

Nara is a special place where you can experience Japan’s ancient history and culture, surrounded by museums displaying art and historical materials, including world heritage sites, national treasures, and important cultural properties. Discover this city with us and experience its charm for yourself.


  • This is a tour for travellers who only plan to stay one day in Nara but still want to experience the most. We will guide you around the city and show you the city treasures. We will do our best to support you so that you can understand this city more deeply.
  • This tour takes you through old palaces, ancient temples, animals, Japanese art, and more in one day, so you can fully enjoy the atmosphere of nature and history. 
  • It is also a tour where you can learn about and actually experience the traditions of Japanese art that have been passed down since ancient times.


Our journey will begin at 09:15 and we will meet at JR Nara Station. Our first stop is Nara Palace Site Historical Park. This is a national park located on the site of Heijo Palace. It was the imperial residence of Japan’s capital, Heijo-kyo (now Nara), during most of the Nara period. The palace served as the imperial residence and administrative centre at the time.

After spending time in this historical park and learning a lot about it, we will return to the city centre for lunch. You may not be aware of this, but Nara is home to many unique local gourmet foods that you shouldn’t miss, and many of which are located in the city centre. If you don’t want to have lunch inside a restaurant, you can also eat at food stalls around the city centre. There are many food options.

Once you have had your fill of delicious food, our afternoon begins with a traditional Japanese art experience –  making Nara Sumi (Nara Inkstick). The origin of ink is said to date back approximately 2,200 years to the Han Dynasty in China. It was also introduced to Japan around that time. This is an experience where you can actually make your own inkstick. You can take it home as a souvenir or use it yourself.

Our next destination after Nara Sumi making is Kasuga-taisha. It is a shrine founded in 768 AD and rebuilt many times over the centuries. The interior is notable for its many bronze lanterns, as well as the many stone lanterns that follow the shrine.

There are many deer on our way to Todaiji Temple. If you wish, you can stop for a moment to feed them. You may be wondering why there are so many deer in Nara. The deity enshrined here is Takemikajichi-no-Mikoto, who is said to have travelled to Nara riding on a sacred deer from Kashima Jingu Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture. Because of this legend, deer are considered sacred animals, messengers of the gods, and have been carefully protected for many years.

It is almost time to say goodbye. Our final destination is Todaiji Temple. It was founded in 738 AD, but did not open until 752 AD. Since then, the temple has undergone several reconstructions, but the most important one (the reconstruction of the Great Buddha Hall) took place in 1709. The world’s largest bronze statue of Dainichi Nyorai is enshrined in the Great Buddha Hall.

We will return to JR Nara Station together to say goodbye. However, if you would like to spend the rest of your day in the city centre, you are more than welcome. We will do our best to help you have a wonderful time in Nara.


09:15Meet us at the JR Nara Station to start your journey.
The meeting place is immediately after exiting the station.
10:00We will arrive at Nara Palace Site Historical Park in about 20 minutes. We will spend time here, walking around the park and learning about the ancient history of Japan.
11:40It is your lunch time! We will return to the city centre. There are lots of food options around.
13:00For the next hour, you can experience traditional Japanese art and create your own piece.
14:00We will walk towards Nara Park and visit Kasuga Taisha, a World Heritage Site. The torii gate of Kasuga Taisha Shrine is one of the oldest torii gates in Shintoism and influenced the style of torii gates found throughout Japan.
15:00The final stop of our journey is Todaiji Temple. This temple also serves as the head temple of the Kegon sect in Japan.
16:30We will return to JR Nara Station to end the tour. However, if you would like to spend the rest of your day in the city centre, please let us know at any time.


Meeting Point : JR NARA Station @ 09:15

You can see us immediately after exiting the JR Nara Station. We are waiting in front of the directory. We will be holding up a sign that says “Snow Monkey Resort.”


  • The times listed in the itinerary are for reference only and the actual tour may vary depending on actual conditions such as weather and trains.
  • This is a walking tour that takes you outdoors for hours. We recommend wearing comfortable shoes and clothing. Please bring sunshade and rain protection if necessary.
  • If you feel uncomfortable during the tour, please let us know. We will do our best to help you.
  • This tour includes free time. We will make sure you know when and where to meet again. If you get lost or forget your meeting point, please call us immediately.


  • Entrance fees for each spot during the tour
  • Bus tickets required for the tour 
  • Nara Sumi experience fee
  • Guided tour with an English speaking guide


  • Food and drinks
  • Transportation before and after the tour


Can I join this tour from Kyoto?
Yes, you can join from Kyoto by train from JR Kyoto Station to JR Nara Station. It only takes 44 minutes!
Can I join this tour from Osaka?
Yes, you can join from Osaka by train from JR Osaka Station to JR Nara Station. It only takes 50 minutes!
Is this tour suitable for children?
Yes, it is suitable for children. It will be a great experience for them to make inkstick and interact with deer. However, only one thing to keep in mind. Since it is a walking tour, you will be walking for hours. If your child is too young, make sure you can hold them when needed.
Is it safe to interact with deer?
It is safe in most situations. Deer are very curious, so if you have something in your hand, it is probably a sign that you are trying to feed them. They may try to get closer to you or eat whatever you have in your hand. Keep your hands free so they don't chase you thinking you have food.

(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Tel: (81)26-219-6256
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara