Book a six- or eight-hour private Nara tour with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide to explore the city’s most incredible temples, shrines and gardens.
Nara’s Todai-ji Temple Daibutsuden Hall © benedettobuono
Nara Walking Tour Itinerary
Your guide will meet you in your hotel in Kyoto or Nara and escort you to downtown Nara, where the tour starts. The route takes you to Issui-en Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan. From there, you’ll visit Todai-ji Temple to see the Great Buddha. Next, you’ll take a secret back route that most tours overlook to get to Nigatsu-do and Sangatus-do halls. After a break for lunch, you’ll walk through atmospheric woods to visit Kasuga Taisha Grand Shrine, one of the most important shrines in Japan. If you’re taking the eight-hour tour, you’ll also visit Naramachi, Nara’s preserved historic district.
Your Own Private Tour Guide
Don’t forget this is a private walking tour, just for you and your friends and family. There will be no one else on the tour with you, so you have the guide to yourself. We have some of Japan’s best English-speaking guides, helping you maximize your time and enjoyment of the city and also get a deeper understanding of the history and significance of each place you visit. The tour price is for the whole group, not per person!
- Time: 6 hours or 8 hours
- Cost: 6-hour tour: Y36,000, 8-hour tour Y44,000. This rate is for 1 to 6 people per private group. The cost is NOT per person; these rates are for the entire group.
- Highlights: Issui-en Garden, Todai-ji Temple, Nara-koen Park, Kasuga-taisha Shrine, Naramachi (only on the 8-hour tour).
- Ideal starting time: 9am (walk concludes at 3pm or 5pm)
Issui-en Garden with Todai-ji in Background © jorgecancela
How To Book A Nara Private Walking Tour
Please send us an inquiry using the form below. We will then quickly respond to you by email confirming availability and any other requirements you may have. You can pay either in advance online using your credit card, or you can pay at the conclusion of the tour in cash. Japanese Yen, US Dollars or Euros are acceptable for cash payments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Hire A Private Guide?
You don’t need a guide to enjoy Nara, but having a guide will add a lot of depth to your understanding of the city. A guide will also free you from having to think about the logistics of getting around and making the most efficient use of your time. A guide can also help you enjoy local restaurants without any communication difficulties.
Who Runs These Tours?
My company Chris Rowthorn Tours provides these tours. We have been running licensed tours in Nara for 10 years. I have spent years finding and training the best guides in all of Nara. Licensed, professional bilingual guides who love Nara as much as I do. But, don’t take my word for it, have a look at reviews of ChrisRowthorn.com on TripAdvisor.
Is The Price Per Person?
No! This is the PER GROUP price, i.e., it’s the price for a private group of 1 to 6 people. If there is one person booking the 6-hour tour, the price is Y36,000 total. If there are six of you, the price is still Y36,000 (making it much cheaper per person). The tour group is private. That means there is only you and your family or you and your friends on the tour and no one else. Please note that we do NOT put different individuals or groups together, even upon request.
Do I Get A Discount If We Are Less Than 6 People?
The price is for a private group for 1 to 6 people. There are no discounts if there are less than the maximum number of people.
How Do I Pay For My Private Nara Walking Tour?
Payment is in cash at the conclusion of the tour or by credit card in advance of the tour (we can set up credit card billing). If you choose to pay in cash, please note that we accept yen cash or the equivalent amount in US/Euro cash.
Can I Cancel A Tour After Booking It?
You can cancel a tour with no penalty up to 48 hours before the scheduled start of the tour. If you cancel between 24 and 48 hours of the scheduled start, we charge you 50% of the price of the tour. Cancellations made fewer than 24 hours from the scheduled start of the tour incur a full 100% charge.
What’s Not Included In The Tour Price?
The tour fee covers the price of the guide. Transport to and from the tour and during the tours, drinks and snacks along the way, and temple/garden/entrance fees are not included in this price (these costs are usually minimal). Please note that for 6- or 8-hour tours, the guide will join you for lunch and we ask that you cover the cost of the guide’s lunch and their transport during the tour (usually a minimal expense).
How Do We Meet With Our Guide?
Your guide can meet you in the lobby of your hotel, ryokan, guesthouse or at any other convenient spot in Kyoto and then escort you by train to Nara. If you are already in Nara, your guide can meet you at your lodgings or at any other convenient spot in Nara. They can also drop you off there if you wish at the conclusion of the tour.
Will My Guide Speak Fluent English?
My guides all speak high-level international-standard English and most have studied abroad. They have all passed the Japan National Guiding License, which includes a very strict English language section.
Do We Stop To Eat?
On 6- or 8-hours tours, you will most likely stop for lunch en route. You might also stop for a drink at a teahouse or coffee shop en route. Please remember that these are fully private tours – the choice is up to you!
Where Can I Rest Along The Way?
Please do not feel that you have to walk at a certain pace for the entire tour. Or, for that matter, that you have to walk the complete distance or even finish the tour. Because these are fully private tours, you can rest as often as you wish: on park benches, in teahouses, at temple gardens, in restaurants and so on. And, if you tire of walking, you can always jump in a taxi.
Is It Easy To Find A Restroom?
Restrooms are very easy to find in Japan. Almost all attractions like temples have them, as do parks and restaurants.
How Do We Get Home At The End Of Our Tour?
It is your choice: Your guide can escort you back to your lodgings or can simply explain the best way to get there on your own. Or, if the day is not yet over, your guide can point you in the direction of additional sightseeing. Please keep in mind that if you choose to have your guide accompany you to your lodgings, this will be on the clock, so that you will have to leave some of the sights a little early to make it back before the end of the tour.
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on our Nara Google map:
- Open the Nara map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Nara Travel Guide:
- Nara Travel Guide Overview
- Things To Do In Nara
- Nara Walking Tour
- Places To Eat In Nara
- Nara Itineraries
- Nara Districts
- Nara Hotels
- Nara Ryokan
- Nara Cherry Blossoms
- Nara Fall Foliage
- Best Time To Go To Nara
- How To Get To Nara
- Getting Around Nara
- Nara Annual Festivals And Events
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)