Tōdai-ji

Tōdai-ji: Our most recommended tours and activities

Nara: Private Tour with Private Guide

1. Nara: Private Tour with Private Guide

Discover Nara on a fully customizable tour. Nara is in close proximity to Kyoto and Osaka, and its rich collection of traditional sites make it an ideal destination for a day trip from either of its larger neighbours. Start your day by meeting your guide at your hotel or chosen location, then choose sites you wish to visit depending on your interests. Example 6-hour Itinerary: Meet your guide at the designated meeting point you chose and let the tour begin. First visit Kofuku-Ji temple, a historic site that has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover several designated National Treasures here including the Buddhist sculpture masterpiece, the Statue of Ashura. Next, head for Todai-Ji temple, a World Heritage Site that is Nara’s most famous landmark. Admire the statue of Kongo Rikishi at Nandaimon Gate and Japan’s largest Great Buddha statue. Stroll through Nara Park which is famous for its wild deer species. Enjoy the verdant natural setting of Nara while taking part in the popular activity of feeding the deer inside the park. Then discover Kasuga Taisha temple, another World Heritage Site with an impressive red main shrine. Explore the Kasuga-Taisha National Treasure Hall which contains valuable works of Buddhist art.

Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Bus Tour from Osaka/Kyoto

2. Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Bus Tour from Osaka/Kyoto

Depart from the exclusive VIP waiting rooms of Osaka or Kyoto, heading to Fushimi Inari Taisha. Designated as an Important Cultural Property, the main shrine building contains five shrines together, these five pillars of Fushimi Inari Taisha are named for the great virtues of Inari Okami that they embody. Inari Okami is known as a deity of business prosperity, the prosperity of industries, the safety of households, safety in traffic and improvement in the performing arts. The 'Senbon Torii' or 1000 torii gates are donations by individuals and companies, and you will find the donator's name and the date of the donation inscribed on the back of each gate. Then you will head to Arashiyama, which changes with the seasons and you can enjoy the scenery any time of year, with cherry blossoms in the spring, boat festivals in the Summer, red leaves in Autumn and snow white mountains in the winter. Arashiyama is also filled with temples and shrines including the match-making Shrine you can visit, during your walk through the famed Bamboo grove. There are a variety of restaurants to choose right near the Togetsukyo bridge, including vegan and Halal. Proceed to the symbol of Kyoto, Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion, also named Rakuon-ji: one of the most popular buildings in Japan. Finally, move on to Japan’s old capital, Nara: you will have the time to explore its park, cuddle the worldwide famous deer and enter the biggest wooden building of the planet, Todai-ji Temple, another UNESCO world heritage site. Here you will find yourself in front of Japan’s biggest Buddha statue, 15 meters tall.

Nara: Half-Day UNESCO Heritage & Local Culture Walking Tour

3. Nara: Half-Day UNESCO Heritage & Local Culture Walking Tour

Meet your knowledgeable guide at the meeting point and begin your cultural half-day walking tour of Japan's first historical capital. As you walk by the shopping arcade, explore a Japanese old town extremely different from a metropolis like Tokyo. Walk between the historical buildings, and go inside a traditional merchant's house to see how people around here live in the past. Next, take a break from walking to observe the mysterious pyramid-shaped structure in the middle of the quiet town. Admire the view of the city of Nara from the hill, then visit Todai-ji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Learn about the distinct Japanese religious culture as you see a huge temple with a great Buddha statue, then explore a beautiful shrine housing hundreds of lanterns. In this area, meet and feed the wild deer living in Nara Park. For over 1,200 years, locals have believed that deer are sacred divine messengers. Interact with them and see how polite they are. At the end of the tour, savor a delicious Japanese lunch dish made only using local Nara vegetables and fresh meat.

Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets Cultural Tour

4. Nara: Big Buddha, Bambi and Backstreets Cultural Tour

Accompanied by your tour guide, 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-meter bronze statue of the Great Buddha, Vairocana. On our way, you will be greeted by the friendly deer of Nara. The deer are divine protectors of the ancient capital living in perfect harmony with the locals. Next stop is the second of the seven great temples of Nara, Kofukuji. Make a brief stop at the Sarusawa pond, well known for its turtles and the pretty scenery surrounding it; this is considered a perfect spot for a romantic evening walk in Nara. Move forward into the quiet alleys and backstreets of Nara-machi, the well-preserved former merchant's district, where you will be able to see and experience unique traditional arts and crafts. As the best way to experience a city is through its food, you will get the chance to test some of our favorite local delights. The last stop of your journey will take you to a shopping street, where you can find colorful and diverse shops, perfect for souvenir hunting.  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. Do not forget to ask for more hints and tips on what else there is to do in Nara during your time here. 

Nara: City Highlights Shared Group or Private Bike Tour

5. Nara: City Highlights Shared Group or Private Bike Tour

Embark on a guided cycling tour around the city of Nara. Discover some of its significant landmarks including Nara Park, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Tōdai-ji, and the Oshikien Garden. Meet your guide in Nara and after a short introduction and safety briefing, you will be ready to set off. Put your helmet on, jump on your bike and head off to discover the beauty of the city.  Admire the beautiful scenery of Nara Park as you ride along at a relaxed pace. See the friendly deer who roam freely within the park and take in the views of the beautifully maintained surroundings. Stop at the Todai-ji Temple and learn more about Buddhism and Shinto culture with your guide. Stroll through its grounds and gaze in awe at the 15-meter-tall giant Buddha statue. Next, head to the Kasuga Taisha Shrine to see its thousand lanterns. Then, continue to the Kikuichi store, a high-end Japanese cooking knife retailer, before heading back to the starting point.

From Kyoto or Osaka: Private Walking Tour through Nara

6. From Kyoto or Osaka: Private Walking Tour through Nara

Go on a private city walking tour through Nara and explore the fascinating history, culture, and food scene of this city. You'll be paired with guides that are passionate about the place they call home and who choose to spend their free time sharing it with like-minded travelers matched to them. Meet your guide in Kyoto or Osaka and take the train to Nara, the city where Shinto Buddhism was born. See some of Japan’s most significant temples and shrines. Marvel at art and architecture dating back to the 8th-century.   Walk down quiet streets and shaded paths lined with cherry blossom trees and be amazed by Nanto Shichi Daiji, the seven great Buddhist temples. Discover the magical, wood-built architecture overhung with thousands of lanterns at the fairytale Kasuga-Taisha Shrine. At the famous Nara Park, you can see the iconic tame deers that come close enough to greet you. If you are hungry this would be the perfect opportunity to check out the restaurants and cafes at Higashimuki Shopping Street. In this street, you will also find all sorts of souvenirs.  This tour can be fully personalized depending on your preferences. Your guide can provide you with tips and recommendations for the rest of your stay in Nara.

Nara: Nara Park Private Family Bike Tour with Lunch

7. Nara: Nara Park Private Family Bike Tour with Lunch

Embark on a private cycling tour around Nara and have a fun day out with all the family. Explore Nara Park, pet and feed the deers cookies, and enjoy a delicious morning snack and lunch to keep your energy up while getting your daily dose of exercise. Meet your local guide at the meeting point in Nara and after a short introduction and safety briefing, you will be ready to set off. Put your helmet on, jump on your bike and head off to discover the beauty of Nara. Admire the beautiful scenery as you ride along at a relaxed pace. Your first stop is the Todai-ji Temple which you will explore with your guide. Stroll through its grounds and gaze in awe at the 15-meter-tall giant Buddha statue. Next, head to the Kasuga Taisha Shrine to see its thousand lanterns. You will also pause for a Western or Japanese-style lunch at a local restaurant during your tour. Enjoy a private and relaxed experience throughout your tour which can be adjusted according to your preferences.

Other Sightseeing Options in Tōdai-ji

Want to discover all there is to do in Tōdai-ji? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Tōdai-ji

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 144 reviews

Great tour with personable guide. This bike tour is particularly recommended on hot days, as you can reach all the important sights quickly and easily. It also gets high quality bikes. A very nice idea was that the guide took pictures of the whole tour, which he then made available to me. Great tour, full recommendation!

The tour was very well planned and we had plenty of time to enjoy each activity that we set out to do. The locations that the bus took us to were convenient and easy to return to after each outing had finished, a very good way to experience some of the culture of Kyoto and Nara in a short amount of time

Very well organized in my opinion the most important places were visited (golden pavilion, bamboo garden, Fushimi Inari-Taisha, Nara). I can only recommend

Yamaguchi was an amazing guide. He was thoughtful, prompt, polite and informative. We very much enjoyed our time with him and would highly recommend!

Amazing sights and experiences, Adrian was funny and knowledgeable, overall an excellent day