Nara City, Nara Prefecture

NARA Visitor Center & Inn

Experience origami, calligraphy,
and more in Nara, the ancient capital of Japan



One thing you notice when you visit the city of Nara is the atmosphere of ancient Japan. Nara was the capital of the nation from 710 to 784. This period saw the development of Buddhism with the construction of many temples. The most famous among them is without doubt the Todaiji Temple with its Great Buddha, who has been watching over the city for more than 1,000 years!

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    There are many deer at Nara Park with Todaiji Temple
    Photo by PIXTA
  • Your first stop in Nara

    A good way to start your day in Nara is to pay a visit to NARA Visitor Center & Inn. Located less than 10-minute walk from Kintetsu-Nara Station, it offers from the second floor a beautiful view of Sarusawa Pond and Five-storied Pagoda of Kohfukuji Temple. Opened in 2015, one feature of this information center is that, from the start, it was designed not only as a place that provides tourism information but also as a venue for traditional cultural experiences.

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    The exterior of Nara Visitor Center & Inn
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    The logo for JNTO-certified Tourist Information Centers
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    Five-storied Pagoda through a window
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    Inside the center with a cheerful atmosphere
  • From origami to cosplay

    At a first glance, NARA Visitor Center & Inn looks like any other visitor center with an information desk and a lot of brochures and pamphlets. There is also a corner showcasing specialty products from Nara Prefecture. But quickly, you might be approached by the staff to participate in a free cultural experience. You have the choice between a calligraphy of your name in Japanese or origami, the art of paper folding. With the kind explanations and help of the staff, you will be able to make a beautiful paper deer —the symbol of Nara!— in about 20 minutes. After that, you can even try some cosplay. There are plenty of choices: not only yukata to take selfies, but also sumo suits for some silly fun!

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    Nara's local specialty corner
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    Let's make a paper deer with origami!
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    There are various kinds of costumes for a cos-play experience
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    Worry free with detailed explanation
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    This sumo wrestler costume will be a surefire hit!
  • Discover Sado, the way of tea

    Last but not least, NARA Visitor Center & Inn is equipped with an authentic tearoom. This traditional Japanese-style room comes with a unique interior design that includes tatami mats as flooring and a sunken hearth to prepare tea. Here, a master of the tea ceremony will teach you the etiquette of this traditional art and how to enjoy Japanese green tea (fee applied). Currently, tea ceremonies are held not only online but also in person every Wednesday. Don’t hesitate to inquire in advance about other dates.

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    You can try a tea ceremony in an authentic tearoom
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    A beautiful view through the window of the tearoom
  • Please also read our interview with Mr. Hashiguchi, head of the NARA Visitor Center & Inn.

    Q:When would you like foreign visitors to visit your tourist information center?

    A:To take shelter from the rain... (laughs) But joking aside, we are confident that we can provide tourist information, experiences, and hospitality that will exceed your expectations and make you feel that “it was worth the trouble” and “it was not a waste of time” to drop by. Anyway, we would appreciate it if you could see our information center as a kind of “travel convenience store” where you can just take a look around and see what you can find.

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    Various ideas for entertaining visitors, such as “Nara quiz” on the table
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    There is a prayer room
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    Your memory of being in Nara will connect to future travelers
  • Q:What kind of place is a tourist information center for you?

    A:Simply put, it’s a place to meet and share information with visitors looking for tourist attractions, delicious food, shopping, experiences, and events in Nara and Japan. It is also a place that strives to create a bridge between travelers and local people. To create opportunities to communicate with visitors, we offer free cultural experiences to promote exchanges with us and to encourage visitors to become Nara fans. We hope that they will in turn share their personal experience of Nara with other people around them or on social networks.

  • Q:To whom would you recommend visiting Nara?

    A:There are a wide variety of national treasures and important cultural properties, so I recommend it to people interested in history and arts like Buddhist statues. But besides cultural assets, Nara Prefecture may be the perfect place for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relieve stress, or for those who want to spend a relaxing and quiet time in the great outdoors!

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    The history, nature, and serene environment are Nara's appealing points
  • Q:What would be your message to visitors from overseas?

    A:There are still many wonderful places and experiences in Japan that you do not know about. And there are many people who want to tell you about them. So please come to Japan and Nara as soon as possible. Our staff is eagerly waiting for you!

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    From left: Ms. Nagai, Mr. Hashiguchi, and Ms. Tsukahara
    We are looking forward to meeting you at Nara Visitor Center & Inn!
  • Next time you visit Nara, you know where to go for a great Japanese cultural experience!

*The information herein is as of December 2022.

Facility information

  • Hours of Operation
  • 8:00 - 21:00
  • Holidays
  • Open 365 days
  • Address
  • 〒630-8361 3 Ikeno-cho, Nara City, Nara
  • Access
  • 10-minute walk from Kintetsu-Nara Station
  • TEL
  • 0742-81-7461