top of page

Things To Do in Nara - January 2024 Events

The best things to do in Nara for January 2024 are around the New Year and towards the end half of the month. There are activities you can enjoy throughout the month such as winter illuminations in Kashihara and blooming peonies in Ikaruga. January is also time for the Wakakusa Yamayaki!


 Things to do in Nara January, Nara January festivals, Nara top tourist attractions, Things to do and see in Nara Japan, things to do around Nara Japan, things to do at Nara park, things to do in Nara for the first time, things to do in Nara in 1 day, things to do in Nara Japan guide, where is Nara Japan, Nara city in Japan, Nara backpackers, Nara hotels, how long to spend in Nara, Nara in Japan, Nara  location, Nara Nara Japan, Nara map, best hotels in Nara, Nara Japan attractions, Nara Japan things to do, things to do in Nara winter, things to do in Nara with kids, things to do Nara Japan, top 10 tourist attractions in Nara Japan, top attractions in Nara Japan, top best things to see in Nara Japan, top ten things to do in Nara Japan, top things to see in Nara Japan, top tourist attractions in Nara Japan, tourism Nara Japan, tourist attractions in Nara Japan, travel to Nara Japan, unique things to do in Nara Japan, Nara tourism office, Nara city tourism, Nara Japan travel info, Nara Japan tourism, Nara Japan travel,



Best New Year Celebrations in Nara

For the first three days of the year, key temples and shrines throng with hundreds of visitors. Known as Hatsumode, these crowds create a festive buzz and in some locations there are food stalls selling tasty winter treats.


These are some of Nara’s more popular spots for ringing in the New Year: 


For Omiwa Shrine, you can take the JR Manyo Mahoroba Line. Hozan-ji is a short cable ride from Ikoma Station. For Chogosonshi-ji Temple, change at Ikoma to the Ikoma-e Line, get off at Shigisan-shita, and then catch a bus up the mountain.



Don’t Miss Kannon Mantou-e at Hase-dera Temple

Hase-dera Temple is one of Nara’s jewels and famous for its 10 m standing Kannon or Goddess of Mercy statue. At Kannon Mantou-e Ceremony you can enjoy an evening spectacle of hundreds of lanterns adorning the temple’s long winding stairway. This event runs over New Year’s Eve until 5 am the next morning. For a 1000 yen fee you can enter the main hall and touch the feet of Kannon. 


Address: 731-1 Hase, Sakurai, Nara Prefecture, 633-0112

Hours: 17:00 to 20:00, Mon-Wed 1st‒3rd

Fee: ¥500 standard entry

Train: Osaka-Uehonmachi direct or change at Yamato-Yagi Station (also for Nara). It’s a 15 min walk down from Hasedera Station.



Oyumi Hajime Kyudo Event in Tenri (01/04)

At the Ooyamato Shrine in Tenri City, students from local schools and the Kyudo Federation will shoot their arrows in a ceremonial event. From 1pm there are limited free meals handed out on a first come, first serve basis and the arrow shooting starts from 1:30 pm.



 Things to do in Nara January, kyudo, Nara January festivals, Nara top tourist attractions, Things to do and see in Nara Japan, things to do around Nara Japan, things to do at Nara park, things to do in Nara for the first time, things to do in Nara in 1 day, things to do in Nara Japan guide, where is Nara Japan, Nara city in Japan, Nara backpackers, Nara hotels, how long to spend in Nara, Nara in Japan, Nara  location, Nara Nara Japan, Nara map, best hotels in Nara, Nara Japan attractions, Nara Japan things to do, things to do in Nara winter, things to do in Nara with kids, things to do Nara Japan, top 10 tourist attractions in Nara Japan, top attractions in Nara Japan, top best things to see in Nara Japan, top ten things to do in Nara Japan, top things to see in Nara Japan, top tourist attractions in Nara Japan, tourism Nara Japan, tourist attractions in Nara Japan, travel to Nara Japan, unique things to do in Nara Japan, Nara tourism office, Nara city tourism, Nara Japan travel info, Nara Japan tourism, Nara Japan travel,


Address: 306 Shinsencho, Tenri City, Nara Prefecture, 632-0057

Hours: 13:00 to 15:00, Thurs 4th

Fee: No charge


Train: From Tenri Station take a Nara Kotsu bus bound for Sakurai or from Sakurai Station take the bus bound for Tenri and get off at Ooyamato-jinya-mae. The closest train station is Nagara on the JR Manyo Mahoroba Line plus a 7-minute-walk.


Although not available in January and February, you can also Experience Japanese Kyudo for yourself in Nara City.



Kashihara Nara Winter Illumination (ends 01/31)

If you want to enjoy a little bit of casual modern illumination, then why not take the train to Kashihara City? The light-up is right next to Yamato Yagi Station. For New Year’s Eve the lights are on until 7 am the next morning. Other days it runs from 17:30 to 24:00.


Kashihara Jingu Shrine is also very popular over New Year and famous for its large Eto or New Year Animal painting. Kashihara-jingu-mae station is just three stations down from Yamato-Yagi.




Other Nara Cultural Events in January 2024



Chihara Otondo in Katsuragi (01/14)

Mid-month, you can head on down to Katsuragi to the Chihara Otondo. It happens at Kissoho-ji Temple in Gose City. This ancient temple is a National Heritage Site marking the birth site of the aesthetic En no Gyoja. The Chihara Otondo ritual is also an Intangible Folk Cultural Property. 

It’s one of many traditional burnings of new year decorations. However, this festival entails burning 6-meter tall torches weighing 700 kg a piece!


The festival origins supposedly date to when the villagers of Chihara lit giant torches to welcome back En no Gyoja after he was banished on grounds of false accusations. English details on how to get there are on Katsuragi Syugen website.


Address: 279 Chihara, Gose City, Nara Prefecture, 639-2241

Hours: From 19:40, Sun 14th

Fee: No charge




All of Nara in One Weekend: Otateyama Festival 2024 (01/27-28)

Also known as the Chitose Hogu-Hogu Festival, this prime cultural event runs over 27th to 28th of January. There are exhibits and cultural shows that cover all the 39 municipalities of the Prefecture. You can enjoy numerous food stalls, purchase local specialties or souvenirs and watch traditional dances and performances. The event aims to showcase as much of the region's cultural treasures as possible with the 2 day event sandwiched between one the Prefecture's most spectacular events; The Wakakusa Yamayaki on Saturday evening.



things to do in nara, nara 2024, chitose, hoguhogu, matsuri, sightseeing in nara,  Things to do in Nara January, Nara January festivals, Nara top tourist attractions, Things to do and see in Nara Japan, things to do around Nara Japan, things to do at Nara park, things to do in Nara for the first time, things to do in Nara in 1 day, things to do in Nara Japan guide, where is Nara Japan, Nara city in Japan, Nara backpackers, Nara hotels, how long to spend in Nara, Nara in Japan, Nara  location, Nara Nara Japan, Nara map, best hotels in Nara, Nara Japan attractions, Nara Japan things to do, things to do in Nara winter, things to do in Nara with kids, things to do Nara Japan, top 10 tourist attractions in Nara Japan, top attractions in Nara Japan, top best things to see in Nara Japan, top ten things to do in Nara Japan, top things to see in Nara Japan, top tourist attractions in Nara Japan, tourism Nara Japan, tourist attractions in Nara Japan, travel to Nara Japan, unique things to do in Nara Japan, Nara tourism office, Nara city tourism, Nara Japan travel info, Nara Japan tourism, Nara Japan travel, , 2024


Address: Heijo Palace Site

Hours: 10:00 to 16:00, Sat/Sun 27-28th

Entry: No charge

Bus: Catch the yellow Nara Loop Bus or from Nara JR and Yamato-Saidaiji Station there is a free shuttle.




 Wakakusa Yamayaki (01/27)

Not to be missed is the annual burning of the grass on Nara’s Wakakusa Mountain. There are various stories about the origins of Wakakusa Yamayaki. The torch fire is lit at the Kasuga Grand Shrine and then carried in a procession by shrine priests and  monks from Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji temples. 


There is also a fireworks display before the burning and you can enjoy snacks at various food stalls. The event can be postponed in case of rain or bad weather.





Address: A short walk up from Nara Park

Hours: Fireworks: 18:15

Fire: 18:30

Entry: No charge




Nature with Flowers, Strawberries, and Dorogawa Hot Spring

There are many picturesque temples all around Nara Prefecture, and some even manage to pull off flower shows in winter! One such event is the winter peony show at Sekko-ji Temple. Winter peonies are cultivated under cute straw hats to ward off frost off the delicate blooms. Depending on the weather, they only last into the first 10 days of January. Mentioned above, Hase-dera Temple, alptly known as "The Temple of Flowers," also displays peony flowers is this manner.



penoy,  Things to do in Nara January, Nara January festivals, Nara top tourist attractions, Things to do and see in Nara Japan, things to do around Nara Japan, things to do at Nara park, things to do in Nara for the first time, things to do in Nara in 1 day, things to do in Nara Japan guide, where is Nara Japan, Nara city in Japan, Nara backpackers, Nara hotels, how long to spend in Nara, Nara in Japan, Nara  location, Nara Nara Japan, Nara map, best hotels in Nara, Nara Japan attractions, Nara Japan things to do, things to do in Nara winter, things to do in Nara with kids, things to do Nara Japan, top 10 tourist attractions in Nara Japan, top attractions in Nara Japan, top best things to see in Nara Japan, top ten things to do in Nara Japan, top things to see in Nara Japan, top tourist attractions in Nara Japan, tourism Nara Japan, tourist attractions in Nara Japan, travel to Nara Japan, unique things to do in Nara Japan, Nara tourism office, Nara city tourism, Nara Japan travel info, Nara Japan tourism, Nara Japan travel,


Sekko-ji Temple

Address: 387 Someno, Katsuragi, Nara Prefecture, 639-0273

Hours: 8:00 to 17:00

Fee: ¥400

Train: Take the Kintetsu Minami-Osaka Line, get off at Futagami-jinjaguchi Station, and it’s a 15-minute-walk uphill. From Nara, you have to change at Kashihara-jingumae and from Osaka the train departs from Osaka-Abenobashi.

Taimadera, another key temple of Nara, is just one station down.



Asuka Village Strawberry Picking

Asuka Ruby Strawberries are grown at waist height in greenhouses. They are very plump and tasty and various farms hold strawberry picking days. You can check the strawberry picking calendar (Japanese) to make a reservation. You can pick-and-eat for 30 minutes and also pay by weight for take-aways. Check the details on the Japanese website.


Address: Takaichi District, Asuka Strawberry Picking Park, Nara Prefecture, 630-0137

Hours: 10:00 to 16:00, Sat/Sun

Fee: Adult ¥2000, kids discounted



Dorogawa Onsen Discount Travel Deal

Winter is the perfect season to soak it up in a traditional Japanese hot spring or onsen. Nara Prefecture’s most prestigious hot springs are in Dorogawa, Tenkawa Village.

From Shimoichi-guchi station on the Yoshino Line you switch to a Nara Kotsu Bus. You can buy a special discount package that includes the train, a return bus trip, and an onsen discount ticket at major Kintetsu Stations. Enquire at the station or a tourist office for the Dorogawa Mitarai Valley pass (洞川温泉・みたらい渓谷散策きっぷ), or for any seasonal discounts they may have.



dorogawa onse, doeogawa,  Things to do in Nara January, Nara January festivals, Nara top tourist attractions, Things to do and see in Nara Japan, things to do around Nara Japan, things to do at Nara park, things to do in Nara for the first time, things to do in Nara in 1 day, things to do in Nara Japan guide, where is Nara Japan, Nara city in Japan, Nara backpackers, Nara hotels, how long to spend in Nara, Nara in Japan, Nara  location, Nara Nara Japan, Nara map, best hotels in Nara, Nara Japan attractions, Nara Japan things to do, things to do in Nara winter, things to do in Nara with kids, things to do Nara Japan, top 10 tourist attractions in Nara Japan, top attractions in Nara Japan, top best things to see in Nara Japan, top ten things to do in Nara Japan, top things to see in Nara Japan, top tourist attractions in Nara Japan, tourism Nara Japan, tourist attractions in Nara Japan, travel to Nara Japan, unique things to do in Nara Japan, Nara tourism office, Nara city tourism, Nara Japan travel info, Nara Japan tourism, Nara Japan travel,



Winter Health with Japanese Sake (01/23)

At Daian-ji Temple near Nara City you can join the Sasazake festival. On arrival, you will receive a small bamboo cup and you can enjoy free rounds of sake poured from bamboo poles by Kimono clad women. This sake pouring honors the Emperor Konin (709-781) who cared much about citizens’ health and the sake is said to prevent cancer.



Address: 2-18-1 Daianji, Nara Prefecture, 630-8133

Hours: 8:00 to 16:00, Sat 23rd

Entry: No charge

For 800 yen, you can receive bamboo leaves sake (or water) and visit the halls

Bus: From JR or Kintetsu Nara Station take the bus bound for Daianji or Sharp-mae and get off at Daianji bus stop.




Thank you for reading Things to Do in Nara - January. February's article is in the pipeline.


 

Author: NARA Visitor Center & Inn

260 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page