Nara prefecture is located in the south-central area of Kinki region and is in the inland part of the Kii Peninsula. Nara city is its capital. Nara has the smallest livable area in Japan and over 90 percent of its population is concentrated in Nara basin in the northwestern part of the prefecture. Since access to Osaka and Kobe is convenient, many people com
mute to their work place or schools located outside of Nara. On the other hand, Nara is also a city with a long history, and there are many old architectural and historical sites including Horyu-ji temple and the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara consisting of Todaiji known for its great statue of Buddha, Yakushi-ji, Kasuga Taisha and other monuments. The southern part is mostly mountainous and its forests continue to thrive as represented by the Yoshino cedar. In this area, there are the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, a World Heritage site that spans over Wakayama, Nara, and Mie prefectures. Following Kyoto, Nara prefecture is known as the tourist spot where most Japanese students visit at least once for a school trip. Nara is also a famous agricultural area for strawberries, watermelons, persimmons, and tea leaves (Yamato tea). A strawberry variety called Asuka Ruby is known to come from here. Calligraphy ink, brushes, and chasen (tea whisk), which is an indispensable tool for tea ceremony, are also produced in Nara. In addition, the city of Yamatokoriyama is known as one of the most famous production sites of goldfish. In August, participants come from all over Japan to the annual National Goldfish Scooping Competition. There are many traditional dishes in Nara prefecture. There are narazuke pickles that are also popular as souvenirs, and since Nara also produces green tea, dishes prepared with tea such as chagayu (green tea porridge) and chameshi (green tea rice) also have a long tradition. Kakinoha-zushi, a bite size mackerel sushi wrapped with a persimmon leaf is a popular summer festival dish.
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"Todaiji Temple" is a head temple of a Buddhist sect of Kegonshu in Nara city, Nara prefecture. In the "Hall of the Great Buddha (main hall)", you can...
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