Nara Prefecture was part of the Osaka Prefecture during the early days of the Meji Restoration and was known as Yamato Province during the Tokugawa period. However, it is best known for its role in Japan’s early history.
During the early years of Japanese history there is evidence of a political power staking their home near Mount Miwa and attempting to unify Japan – likely in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Later, when recorded history is available, it is known the capitals of Asuka, Fujiwara, and Heijo were all built on the lands of Nara under the same gridline format of the Chinese capitals. The government was also in regular discussions with China and Korea.
The Emperor Kammu, in 784, decided to move the capital of Japan to Nagaoka, with a second move to Heian in 794, starting the Heian Period. Nara’s capital buildings and temples remained influential though and opposition groups developed in Kofuku and Todai in the 12th century.
Nara was largely restored during the early shogunates with the support of Minamoto no Yoritomo and Kofuku-ji became a center of power for Fujiwara, and the regional chief of Yamato Province. Further struggles erupted in the 14th century as power changed hands and the power in Kofuku-ji eventually diminished again.
During the Tokugawa Period, The shogunate eventually took full control of the province himself as the economic and commercial center of Japan shifted to Osaka. The 18th century progressed and eventually, the prefecture became a residential home to many who transport to Osaka daily, as it still is today.
The Prefecture of Nara is part of the Kansai region of Japan and is in the midst of the Kii Peninsula. To the west of Nara are Osaka Prefecture and Wakayama Prefecture. To the north is Kyoto Prefecture, and to the east is Mie Prefecture.
The majority of Nara is covered by forests and mountains giving it a total inhabitable area smaller than any of Japan’s other prefectures.
The cities of Nara Prefecture include the following:
Additional districts and towns in Nara Prefecture include:
Nara’s largest industry in terms of GPP is manufacturing with more than 20%, followed by service at 19% and real estate at 16%. Nara Prefecture’s tourism industry is equally important to the government though as the city’s history is rich and its surrounding area filled with multiple different natural landmarks.
In addition to major modern industries, Nara is also known for its production of traditional Japanese art and materials including sumi for calligraphy, bamboo instruments, and tea ceremony materials. The goldfish from Yamatokoriyama are equally famous and have been cultivated since the 18th Century for trade.
Nara’s long history has made it a center of Japanese tourism with multiple Shinto and Buddhist shrines along with multiple world heritage sites such as the Kasuga Shrine. The following sites have been considered cultural landmarks for Japan:
More than 75 additional sites including shrines, hot springs, temples, mountain ranges, and Nara Period ruins have also been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Nara Prefecture.