Destinations / Asia

Unbeatable Hotels in Nara Close to Deer Encounters, Shrines & More

Nara conjures up images of 8th-century temples, priceless artwork, revered Buddhist shrines and fascinating national museums. You might also immediately think of the cute and friendly deer that populate the world-famous Nara Park. To put it simply, Nara is a haven for historic Japanese culture and natural scenery.

With more than 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve explored this diverse prefecture and found the best hotels if you want to stay near Nara’s top attractions. Whether you prefer to explore Nara Park, admire the Tanize Suspension Bridge or scale Mount Wakakusa, we’ve got you covered with hotel highlights and must-do experiences.

Nara Park

Why You Should Stay near Nara Park

Nestled at the base of Mount Wakakusa, Nara Park is a cultural haven filled with museums and centuries-old shrines and temples. However, it’s probably most famous for its population of Sika deer, which roam freely around the temples and across open lawns. One of the oldest parks in Japan, Nara Park is also blessed with gardens, ponds and scenic walking trails.

Must-Do Experiences Around Nara Park

  • Feed the deer using the deer crackers purchased around the park.
  • Admire the impressive Buddhist architecture of the Nandaimon Gate of Tōdaiji.
  • Stroll through the vibrant Kasugataishashinen Manyo Botanical Gardens.

Top Hotels near Nara Park

Nara Hotel

Nara Hotel
Photo| Nara Hotel | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Located at Nara Park overlooking Ara Pond, Nara Hotel surrounds you with picturesque nature and immersive historical sites. The hotel itself harks back to a bygone era of Japan with traditional architecture and service. Seasonal ingredients are crafted into Japanese specialties at Hanagiku restaurant, Japanese whiskey is served in The Bar and Mikasa is known for its French cuisine.

You can admire the Nara Park scenery from the Terrace Garden and taste Japanese and Western sweets in the Tea Lounge. The Standard and Deluxe rooms have plush bedding and sitting areas, while the Imperial Suite has high-end furnishings and a separate living room. The New Building also has Japanese-style rooms with tatami mats and wooden baths. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • The Garden of the Former Daijyo-in Temple (230 metres)
  • Todaiji Museum (1.4 kilometres)
  • Kasugataishashinen Manyo Botanical Gardens (1.4 kilometres)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 390 – USD 2,177
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: 1096 Takabatake Cho, Nara, Japan

Tsukihitei

Tsukihitei
Photo| Tsukihitei | Provided by TSUKIHITEI

Enjoy traditional Japanese accommodation in the mountains behind Nara Park at Tsukihitei, a ryokan with cosy guest rooms featuring tatami mats, tea rooms and furnished balconies overlooking the forest scenery. The on-site restaurant showcases seasonal Japanese Kaiseki cuisine, meticulously prepared for the perfect Instagram shot. During breakfast, they serve the traditional Chagayu dish from Nara.

There are two private baths at the ryokan, including one made from Japanese cypress sourced from Nara and another surrounded by timber walls and a Nara deer stained-glass window. From the ryokan, you can easily wander down to Nara Park and visit La Terrasse for French cuisine and park scenery. 

Nearby Attractions

  • Kasugataishashinen Manyo Botanical Gardens (1.2 kilometres)
  • The Mizuya Chaya coffee shop (600 metres)
  • Kasuga-taisha Treasure Hall (900 metres)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 367 – USD 897
Guest Rating: 9.7
Address: Kasugano-cho 158, Nara, Japan

Hotel Location

Ohmiwa Jinja Shrine

Why You Should Stay near the Oomiwa-Jinja

Oomiwa-Jinja is a treasured Shinto shrine in the small city of Sakurai. It’s dedicated to Mount Miwa, which you can see from the intricately decorated shrine. It’s thought to be the oldest Shinto shrine in Japan and is a sacred place for sake brewers because of its position in a cedar forest. 

Must-Do Experiences Around Oomiwa-Jinja 

  • Scale Mount Miwa to see more nature within Nara Prefecture.
  • Visit the smaller Saijinja Shrine behind the main shrine, which has a natural spring believed to possess healing properties.
  • Wander a short way from the shrine to taste regional sake at Imanishi Sake Brewery.

Top Hotels near Oomiwa-Jinja

Ryokan Taishoro

Ryokan Taishoro
Photo| Ryokan Taishoro | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Only a short walk from the Oomiwa-Jinja shrine, the cosy Ryokan Taishoro offers traditional Japanese accommodation with tatami mats, futons and rice paper walls. However, these also come with modern comforts, such as TVs. There are only 12 rooms in the intimate ryokan, all of which surround a tranquil courtyard with Japanese gardens.

Ryokan Taishoro offers an array of specialty Japanese dishes that take you on an immersive culinary journey, including traditional dishes using smoked squid, boiled oysters, shrimp sashimi and smoked salmon. The ryokan is also surrounded by a number of locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants.

Nearby Attractions 

  • Shiba Sports Park (900 metres)
  • Kita Museum (1.1 kilometres)
  • Iwakura Shrine (1 kilometre)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 122 – USD 172
Guest Rating: 8
Address: Miwa 459, Sakurai, Japan

Machiya Guest House Mimoro

Machiya Guest House Mimoro
Photo| Machiya Guest House Mimoro | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Machiya Guest House Mimoro is conveniently located two blocks from Miwa Station, which is on the Sakurai Line. The traditional-style guesthouse has preserved the old fixtures of the original house and features a tranquil lounge area and a central courtyard with a Japanese garden.

You can choose between three guest rooms, which can accommodate between four and six guests on tatami mats. These classic abodes also have rice paper sliding doors and bamboo walls as well as communal bathrooms and toilets located on the first and second floors. Outside you’ll find popular restaurants, such as Sakae Sushi. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • Site of Emperor Sujin’s Palace (950 metres)
  • Kita Museum (950 metres)
  • Mount Miwa (2.6 kilometres)

Star Rating: No Rating
Price: USD 122 – USD 132
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 499-2 Miwa, Sakurai, Japan

Hotel Location

Tanize Suspension Bridge

Why You Should Stay near the Tanize Suspension Bridge

One of the longest suspension bridges in Japan, the 298-metre-long Tanize Suspension Bridge hangs about 54 metres above the Totsukawa River. Built in 1954, the bridge is enclosed in wire mesh and often has a vertiginous swaying motion as you walk across. Crossing the bridge offers stunning views of the mountainous countryside and the riverbed below. 

Must-Do Experiences Around the Tanize Suspension Bridge 

  • Duck into one of the local cafes on either side of the bridge for some local tea.
  • Visit Takeharahachiman Shrine on the Tanize side of the bridge.
  • Brave the walk across the swaying bridge.

Top Hotels near the Tanize Suspension Bridge

Hotel Nosegawa

Hotel Nosegawa
Photo| Hotel Nosegawa | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Positioned along the Kawaharabi River, Hotel Nosegawa lets you enjoy views of the river and seasonal scenery from all of its traditional Japanese rooms. These rooms include classic features, such as tatami mats and tea rooms, as well as modern comforts like TVs.

Don’t miss a soak in the on-site hot spring, which overlooks natural scenery and has mineral-rich water known for its healing properties. You can indulge in traditional Japanese cuisine at the on-site restaurant, Aunt, or book out the 50-pax banquet hall for a special occasion. Visit the cafe for fresh coffee and delicious ice cream or pick up snacks in the gift shop. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • Katte Shrine (35 metres)
  • Tanize Suspension Bridge (48 kilometres)
  • Obako (3.3 kilometres)

Star Rating: 2*
Price: USD 115 – USD 263
Guest Rating: 8
Address: 426 Kitaimanishi Nosegawa-Mura Yoshino-Gun Nara, Nosegawa, Japan

Unkai no Sato no Yado

Unkai no Sato no Yado
Photo| Unkai no Sato no Yado | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Unkai no Sato no Yado hugs the Nakaburu River and is a private guest house with two rooms featuring comfortable furnishings, such as leather lounges and sliding rice paper doors. The guest house is surrounded by lush gardens and has numerous large windows overlooking the natural scenery.

If you’re seeking rural accommodation away from the crowds, this is the perfect place to unwind with your own thoughts and explore the Nara countryside. The guest house serves a daily breakfast or you can drive to nearby towns to visit local restaurants and shops. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • Tanize Suspension Bridge (22 kilometres)
  • Kokuo Shrine (650 metres)
  • Nosegawa Village Community Learning Center (1.5 kilometres)

Star Rating: 2*
Price: USD 103 – USD 113
Guest Rating: No Rating
Address: Hosohara 223, Nosegawa, Japan

Hotel Location

Dorogawa Onsen

Why You Should Stay near Dorogawa Onsen

Perfect for relaxing, Dorogawa Onsen is a traditional town on the Yamagami River where you can rejuvenate in natural hot springs, try local delicacies and explore some of Nara’s most unique natural attractions. The surrounding mountains contain sacred temples, while the valley swimming holes and limestone caves showcase Japan’s natural splendour. 

Must-Do Experiences Around Dorogawa Onsen 

  • Head to Mitarai Valley in summer for swimming, fishing and picnicking by the water.
  • Ride the miniature monorail through the forest to Goyomatsu Limestone Cave and explore the ancient natural structure.
  • Try the wild boar hotpot and soak in an onsen at the popular ryokan, Koryokuen Nishisei.

Top Hotels near Dorogawa Onsen

Hanaya Tokubei

Hanaya Tokubei
Photo| Hanaya Tokubei | Provided by BOOKING.COM

You’d be remiss staying in Dorogawa Onsen at a place without its own hot spring. Fortunately, Hanaya Tokubei is blessed with two indoor baths and a semi-outdoor bath overlooking beautiful gardens. You can also stay in a guest room with its own bath filled with hot spring water. This Japanese-style room also has tatami mats and a private balcony overlooking the countryside.

Some of the other Japanese rooms also have private balconies, along with bamboo walls and rice paper sliding doors. On-site dining makes the most of the region’s gastronomic spoils, utilising seasonal ingredients to create unforgettable dishes such as wild boar and duck hot pots. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • Tenkawa Sonritsu Museum (250 metres)
  • Dorogawachiku Community Center (240 metres)
  • Tenkawa-mura Dorogawa Eco Museum Center (750 metres)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 119 – USD 168
Guest Rating: 9
Address: Dorogawa 217, Tenkawa, Japan

Kohryokuen Nishisei

Kohryokuen Nishisei
Photo| Kohryokuen Nishisei | Provided by BOOKING.COM

The Japanese-style rooms at Kohryokuen Nishisei boast mountain views and feature tatami mats, bamboo walls and tea rooms. Capable of housing between two and four guests, the rooms also come with some meals included. Speaking of, you don’t want to miss the culinary delights here, from traditional tofu made using the water of Mount Omine to fresh river fish and crab meat.

Kohryokuen Nishisei is renowned for its on-site hot spring, which includes two indoor baths and a semi-outdoor bath crafted out of individually-laid stone. There’s also an on-site garden with classic Japanese plants and features, including bridges and Buddhist statues. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • Mount Omine (4.6 kilometres)
  • Tenkawa-mura Dorogawa Eco Museum Center (600 metres)
  • Tenkawa Sonritsu Museum (400 metres)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 261 – USD 304
Guest Rating: 8
Address: 257 Dorogawa, Tenkawa, Japan

Hotel Location

Mount Wakakusa

Why You Should Stay near Mount Wakakusa

The 342-metre-high Mount Wakakusa is positioned on the eastern end of Nara Park, separating Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Shrine. From the summit of the mountain, you can enjoy panoramic views across the city of Nara and beyond to distant mountains. Springtime is ideal for visiting Mount Wakakusa because of the cherry blossom trees that bloom in vibrant shades of pink.

Must-Do Experiences Around Mount Wakakusa 

  • Visit on the fourth Saturday of January to see the dead grass burned during the annual Yamayaki festival.
  • Check out the deer, shrines and museums within Nara Park at the base.
  • Visit the nearby Shōsōin Main Warehouse, which dates back to the 1st century.

Top Hotels near Mount Wakakusa

Wakasa Annex

Wakasa Annex
Photo| Wakasa Annex | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Wakasa Annex is a charming ryokan a short walk from the base of Mount Wakakusa. The ryokan has a large communal hot spring bath with exposed rocks, as well as a smaller Buddha-inspired private bath and a Jacuzzi overlooking the city streets. You can feel the culinary passion present in every meal here, from the seasonal dishes to the local Nara dishes.

Most of the rooms feature traditional Japanese furnishings, including tatami mats, futons, bamboo walls and rice paper doors. You can book a Japanese and Western-style room with an open-air bath and modern beds or opt for a Japanese room with an open-air Jacuzzi on its balcony. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • Nara Park (400 metres)
  • Shōsōin Main Warehouse (750 metres)
  • Isuien Neiraku Museum (500 metres)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 304 – USD 709
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: 1 Kitahanda Higashimachi, Nara, Japan

Kanko Hotel Tamaru

Kanko Hotel Tamaru
Photo| Kanko Hotel Tamaru | Provided by BOOKING.COM

All the rooms at Kanko Hotel Tamaru are Japanese-inspired with a modern twist on traditional furnishings, such as tatami mats and rice paper sliding doors. They also boast modern entertainment, such as TVs and mini bars, along with typical tea rooms.

You’ll find a complimentary hot spring spa on site, along with a restaurant serving fresh and seasonal fare sourced from the local area. The ryokan backs onto a small waterway and is a short walk from nearby cafes, noodle shops and restaurants. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • National Treasure Octagonal Lantern (700 metres)
  • Nara Park (450 metres)
  • Isuien Neiraku Museum (400 metres)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 304 – USD 356
Guest Rating: 8
Address: 41 Oshiagecho, Nara, Japan

Hotel Location

Naramachi

Why You Should Stay near Naramachi

As you wander through Naramachi, keep your eyes peeled for the traditional residential buildings and warehouses that were part of the former merchant district. Today it is populated with lively boutiques, cafes and restaurants, along with some small, yet fascinating museums. Arts and crafts, souvenirs, clothing and trinkets can be found within buildings dating back to the Edo Period.

Must-Do Experiences Around Naramachi 

  • Browse the local shops and cafes while sampling traditional tea and trying on handmade clothing.
  • Admire the ancient Fire Lookout Tower nearby.
  • Wander through the streets to find the iconic Koriyama Castle.

Top Hotels near Naramachi

Guesthouse Naramachi

Guesthouse Naramachi
Photo| Guesthouse Naramachi | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Dating back to the early 1900s, the storied Guesthouse Naramachi houses you in a former merchant’s home. While the classic Japanese atmosphere remains, you’ll also be impressed with the modern Japanese furnishings throughout the rooms, including tatami mats, futons and, in the dormitories, timber bunk beds.

The guesthouse is very sociable, inviting you to interact with the owners and fellow travellers in the Naraza event space, which hosts tea ceremonies, music concerts and monochrome painting classes. There are also communal bathrooms and an internet corner. 

Nearby Attractions

  • Naramachi Koshino (300 metres)
  • Naramachi Museum (500 metres)
  • Naramachi Mechanical Toy Museum (500 metres)

Star Rating: 2*
Price: USD 47 – USD 75
Guest Rating: 8.7
Address: Kitakyobate-cho 30, Nara, Japan

Guesthouse Makura

Guesthouse Makura
Photo| Guesthouse Makura | Provided by BOOKING.COM

 

Budget-savvy travellers will appreciate the great value for money at Guesthouse Makura, which offers private rooms and shared dorms. The former boast timber beds and air conditioning, while the dorms have bunk beds with privacy screens. There’s also a more traditional room with tatami mats and a tea corner.

The guesthouse features a communal lounge area with its own bar and an extensive library. There’s also a shared kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. The streets outside reveal a range of dining options, including Gallery Cafe Takeno and the Hirasou Nara sushi restaurant. 

Nearby Attractions 

  • Naramachi Center (180 metres)
  • Naramachi Mechanical Toy Museum (500 metres)
  • The Garden of the Former Daijyo-in Temple (950 metres)

Star Rating: 1*
Price: USD 24 – USD 151
Guest Rating: No Rating
Address: Imamikadocho 27, Nara, Japan

Hotel Location

Unlock the Very Best of Nara’s Culture, Nature & History

The Nara Prefecture is anything but limited, offering an array of unique attractions and areas to explore. There are options for nature lovers, temples and shrines for culture vultures and fascinating museums for history buffs. These top attractions all have popular hotels and ryokans nearby as well, many of which have their own hot springs, culinary delights and Japanese traditions.

Where do you want to visit in Nara? Let us know in the comments below.

(Featured image: Getty Images, Sean Pavone Photo)

Author: Ben Stower

I'm enamoured with travel, whether it's finding the quiet, local sanctuaries in touristic cities, venturing into rock vaults in a distant jungle or spending hours on a Spanish beach. I can't see an end to my travelling. Just another chapter and another story to tell.

Ben Stower
I'm enamoured with travel, whether it's finding the quiet, local sanctuaries in touristic cities, venturing into rock vaults in a distant jungle or spending hours on a Spanish beach. I can't see an end to my travelling. Just another chapter and another story to tell.
Posted on Categories Asia, DestinationsTags ,

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