The Essence of Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets

  • Best price guaranteed
  • No booking fees
  • duration 4 hours
  • tour type Group
  • age requirement 6+ yrs
  • guiding method Live Guide/Instructor
  • Starts Kyoto, Japan
  • Ends Kyoto, Japan
  • Get up close to the fabled, holy deer of Nara
  • Explore Buddhist temples that once held enough power to influence the emperor himself
  • Stroll the beautiful backstreets of old town and discover handicraft havens, quirky shops and traditional machiya houses
  • Watch the turtles going about their daily lives at picturesque Sarusawa pond
The Essence of Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets tour starts and ends in Kyoto. The Essence of Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets is a walking tour that takes 4 hours.

Explore the ancient capital of Japan with us and discover a peaceful city, brimming with dazzling temples, shrines, imperial tombs and machiya houses built in the traditional style. We’ll meet divine deer roaming the streets, grab some tasty street food, chat with locals about living and working here and show you our favourite hidden gems in the alleys of the old city. All this at your own pace, without the hassle or the crowds of a typical day in Kyoto. What are you waiting for?!
5 - Excellent
Based on 802 reviews
Mrs. Brianna's review for another Urban Adventures tour
5 - Excellent
  • Mrs. Brianna
  • On Aug 10 2016
“We loved this tour! Bob was very knowledgeable and showed us a different side of the city.”
Ms. Lori's review for another Urban Adventures tour
5 - Excellent
  • Ms. Lori
  • On Aug 26 2016
“Excellente tour to Tirimbina -yummy chocolate tour to see and taste the production of chocolate from the bean to the savory smooth chocolate. . . .swinging bridges walk to a fabulous hike in the foresty jungle with LOTS of ID's of plants, trees, animals, birds, insects. Highly recommend for a day trip OUT of the the city and enjoy the REAL Costa Rica country.”
Mrs. Wendy's review for another Urban Adventures tour
5 - Excellent
  • Mrs. Wendy
  • On Aug 30 2016
“Our guide Teresa was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and considerate. She made the experience interesting and fun.”

After meeting your tour guide, we’ll head straight to one of Nara’s top historical sites and one of the largest wooden buildings in the world, the Todaiji temple. Its famous centerpiece is the 15-metre bronze statue of the Great Buddha, Vairocana. 

On our way to and from the temple you will be greeted by the super-friendly deer of Nara. The deer are seen as heavenly animals and as such are the divine protectors of the ancient capital, living in perfect harmony with the local population. 

Our next stop is the second of the seven great temples of Nara, Kofukuji. Although much has been lost throughout the ages, this proud and powerful temple has stood against the tides of time and kept a great degree of its power, even after the capital of Japan moved to Kyoto and most of its contemporaries lost their influence. 

The path then takes us south towards the heart of the old town but we’ll make a brief stop at the Sarusawa pond first. A tranquil stretch of water, well known for its turtles and the pretty scenery surrounding it, if you are staying in Nara for longer, this is a perfect spot for a romantic evening walk. 

Finally, our journey will take us into the quiet alleys and backstreets of Nara-machi, the well preserved former merchants district where we will be able to see and experience traditional arts and crafts unique to Nara. 

We always say that the best way to experience a city is through its food, so our penultimate stop will be to sample some of our favourite local delights, giving you a flavour of our beloved city. 

The last stop on our journey will take us to a shopping street beset with an exciting array of colourful and diverse shops, perfect for souvenir hunting and that exceptional gift for someone special back home. 

Both the JR Nara station and the Kintetsu station are within comfortable walking distance from the finishing point of the tour. Your guide will be happy to help you with directions to your hotel or to provide a restaurant recommendation for lunch. Don’t forget to ask for more hints and tips on what else there is to do in Nara during your time here. 

  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Local snacks and entrance fees for all the sites mentioned.&Nbsp;
  • Additional food and drink
  • souvenirs and personal shopping
  • tips/gratuities for your guide
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GOOD TO KNOW Download trip notes

Cancellation for this The Essence of Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets tour is free up to 48 hours before the chosen start date - full refund will be given. If cancellation is made less than 48 hours before the chosen start date, no refund applies.


For any tour departures within 02 December 2020, full payment is required. For tours that depart later than 02 December 2020, a deposit of 100% is required to confirm this tour, and the remaining balance will be charged 0 days before trip departure.

Travel Insurance

The Essence of Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.


For this The Essence of Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

Meeting start point :

At the fountain in front of the exit at Kintetsu Nara station. From the train platform go through the east gates to street level, via the staircase, where you’ll see the fountain with a statue of a monk, on your right-hand side.

Meeting end point :

The intersection of Sanjo dori street and Higashimuki Shopping Arcade.

COVID-19 Safety Measures

This trip incorporates the following COVID-19 measures:

  • This tour follows established guidelines that are in line with the World Travel and Tourism Council’s ‘Safe Travels’ framework against COVID-19.
  • This tour follows the local government(s) recommendations for gatherings and group sizes.
  • Wearing a mask, hand washing and sanitizing is highly encouraged on this tour. Frequently touched surfaces are regularly disinfected.
If you have any question about this tour or need help with planning a trip, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We're ready to help.
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