Nara is an ancient capital city in Nara Prefecture, Kansai region of Japan. Overshadowed by its more famous neighbor Kyoto, Nara is omitted from many a time-pressed tourist's itinerary. However, Nara is home to many important scenic and historical sites, and today preserves its main sights much more attractively than Kyoto within Nara Park and neighborhoods like Naramachi. In addition to lovely foliage and many old buildings, Nara Park is famous for deer—hundreds of them that have become very comfortable around people and can be fed and petted.
Along with the development of Heijōkyō, the capital of Japan between 710-784 AD, Nara flourished under the influence of Buddhism, leading to the creation of an enormous number of cultural assets, buildings and books, many of which are preserved today. Nara has the most buildings designated National Treasures in Japan.
Eight places in the old capital Nara have been inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara" since 1998, including five Buddhist temples, one Shinto shrine, an imperial palace and a primeval forest.