Nara‘s Most Popular Neighborhood, Naramachi, is a must-see destination for any tourist visiting the ancient city of Nara, known for its well-preserved historical buildings and traditional atmosphere, Naramachi offers a glimpse into the past while also being a modern and vibrant neighborhood, with plenty of shops, restaurants and activities to enjoy.

The History of Naramachi

Naramachi, which literally means “Nara Town,” is a neighborhood located in the heart of Nara City. It was developed during the Edo period (1603-1867) as a merchant district and was the center of trade and commerce in the city. Many of the buildings in the area, such as merchant houses and warehouses, have been preserved and are now open to the public as museums, shops, and restaurants.

Exploring Naramachi on foot

The best way to explore Naramachi is on foot. The neighborhood is relatively small and compact, making it easy to navigate. Start your walk at the Naramachi Visitor Center, where you can pick up a map and learn more about the history of the area. From there, head to the main street of the neighborhood, Sanjo-dori, which is lined with traditional merchant houses and shops selling local crafts and souvenirs.

Experience traditional culture

One of the highlights of a visit to Naramachi is the opportunity to experience traditional Japanese culture. The neighborhood is home to several museums that showcase the history and way of life of the area during the Edo period. The most popular of these is the Naramachi Furukawa-cho, a restored merchant house that gives visitors a glimpse into the life of a wealthy merchant family during the Edo period. The house is filled with beautiful antiques and artifacts, including a collection of kimonos and other traditional clothing.

Relax in a traditional teahouse

After a day of walking and exploring, take a break and relax in a traditional teahouse. Naramachi is home to several teahouses, including the charming Horyu-ji Teahouse, which is located in a restored merchant house. Here, you can enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, in which you will be served tea and sweets by a kimono-clad hostess. It’s a great way to experience the traditional Japanese tea culture and to take a break from the hustle and bustle of sightseeing.

Shopping and dining in Naramachi

Naramachi is a great place to shop for souvenirs and traditional crafts. The main street of the neighborhood, Sanjo-dori, is lined with shops selling a variety of items, including pottery, textiles, and woodblock prints. The area is also home to several traditional craft workshops, where you can watch artisans at work and purchase their handiwork.

In terms of dining, Naramachi offers a wide range of options, from traditional Japanese restaurants serving local specialties to international eateries. Some must-try dishes include Nara’s famous deer meat, and “Shika-senbei,” a type of cracker that is made from rice flour and shaped like a deer.


Naramachi is a unique and charming neighborhood that offers visitors a glimpse into the past while also being a modern and vibrant area. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply looking for a unique shopping and dining experience, Naramachi has something for everyone.