Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara (1998)

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Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784. During this period the framework of national government was consolidated and Nara enjoyed great prosperity, emerging as the fountainhead of Japanese culture. 

The city's historic monuments Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and the excavated remains of the great Imperial Palace provide a vivid picture of life in the Japanese capital in the 8th century, a period of profound political and cultural change.

  • United Nations (Geneva) 2001. Nara. Scan by courtesy of Jean-Michel (France). 

United Nations (Geneva) 2001. Nara.


  • Japan. Map of Prefectures. Nara Prefecture is No. 28, immediately southeast of Osaka. 

  • Japan 2002. Souvenir sheet. Treasures of Ancient Nara. The individual stamps are shown below as close-ups. 

In its justification for inscription the UNESCO states that The historic monuments of ancient Nara bear exceptional witness to the evolution of Japanese architecture and art as a result of cultural links with China and Korea which were to have a profound influence on future developments. 

Japan 2002. Ancient Nara. Kasugataisha Shrine, cloister. Japan 2002. Ancient Nara. Kasugataisha Shrine, Middle Gate. Japan 2002. Ancient Nara. Mt. Kasugayama priveval forest. Japan 2002. Ancient Nara. Gankoji Temple, Zen Room and Main Hall. Japan 2002. Ancient Nara. Gankoji Temple, five-storey pagoda.

The flowering of Japanese culture during the period when Nara was the capital is uniquely demonstrated by its architectural heritage. The layout of the Imperial Palace and the design of the surviving monuments in Nara are outstanding examples of the architecture and planning of early Asian capital cities.

Japan 2002. Ancient Nara. Yakushiji Temple, East and West Pagodas. Japan 2002. Ancient Nara. Yakushiji Temple, "Yakushi Nyorai", (Bhaisajyaguru), "The Buddha of Healing". Japan 2002. Toshodaiji Temple, Main Hall. Japan 2002. Toshodaiji Temple, "Senju Kannon", "Thousand-armed Avalokitesvara". Japan 2002. Ancient Nara. Heijo Palace remains, suxakumon gate.

The Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines of Nara demonstrate the continuing spiritual power and influence of these religions in an exceptional manner.

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Japan (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Japan for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus
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