Nara Park at Autumn Momiji

Nara Park Photography Guide

Japan’s Nara Park is a photographer’s dream come true year-round, offering a mesmerizing blend of history, environment, and wildlife with a lot of great photo locations. But this charming place really comes alive in the enchanted fall foliage season, when the surrounding countryside is a riot of red, gold, and amber hues. The park’s old trees, which include imposing gingkos and stately maples, change into a captivating tapestry of hues that makes for an exquisite background for any kind of photo.

The best photo spots are located in Nara, including the tranquil grounds of Kasuga Taisha Shrine, where vermillion-colored torii gates frame the landscape and the surrounding forest transforms into a sea of fiery leaves. These are among the most famous locations for photographing the splendor of autumn. The serene Isuien Garden, where well-kept landscapes meld perfectly with nature’s seasonal show, is another must-see spot.

However, the friendly Sika deer that walk freely throughout Nara Park are what really make the park unique. These kind animals, revered in Shinto tradition as gods’ messengers, lend an extra magical quality to any picture. Deer are the ideal models for capturing special moments in autumn because they look like characters from a fairy tale when they graze beneath the vibrant leaf canopy.

Exploring Nara Park offers countless photo opportunities, with new views to capture at every bend. Every curve presents a different viewpoint, from the serene waters of Sarusawa Pond reflecting the flaming foliage to the historic stone lanterns bordering the walks. Whether they choose to capture the fleeting beauty of falling leaves or the timeless grace of centuries-old temples, Nara Park inspires photographers to create works of art that capture the spirit of Japan’s rich cultural legacy and natural beauty.


When To Go To Nara Park?

Best time to visit Nara Park

When autumn foliage is at its greatest, in late November, is the best time to visit Nara Park, especially for photographers. The leaves start to dry out by the beginning of December. The precise date may vary annually depending on the weather.
The weather in late November is usually sunny and mild, making it the perfect time to explore the park’s natural and cultural features. With the leaves at its most brilliant, it’s the ideal time to see the park’s brilliant colors. Whether taking in the views or taking pictures of the famous deer against the backdrop of fall colors, visiting Nara Park at this time of year guarantees an unforgettable experience.
Although late November offers the best fall foliage, Nara Park is an enjoyable location to visit all year round. Nara Park reveals its own distinct appeal with every passing season.

Nara Kasuga-Taisha Shrine with Kids and Deers Nara Kasuga-Taisha Shrine with Kids and Deers – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 172mm | f2.8 | 1/250s | ISO400
Nara Park Kasuga-Taisha Stairs with deers Nara Park Kasuga-Taisha Stairs with deers – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 79mm | f2.8 | 1/160s | ISO800


How To Get To Nara Park?

Best ways to get to Nara Park

It takes around 30 to 60 minutes to go by train from Kyoto and Osaka to Nara Park, which is conveniently located. Since Kintetsu-Nara Station is closer to the park’s entrance than Nara Station, it is important that you catch the right train there. It just takes a leisurely stroll from Kintetsu-Nara Station to get to the park. Accessing Nara Park is made easy with smooth train connections and well-defined directions, making this captivating location accessible to anyone.
Take the Kintetsu Limited Express from Kyoto which needs 35min or Kintetsu Limited Express or Kintetsu-Nara Line from Osaka-Namba Station which needs around 45min.
If you prefer to come by car, there is a parking lot at Kasuga Taisha Shrine Museum, parking lot at Kofuku-ji Kokuhokan, the Naranoboriojijidosha Parking Lot for 1000 yen a day or many smaller car parks in the city of Nara before the Nara Parks start.

Bambi at Nara Park Bambi at Nara Park – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 70mm | f2.8 | 1/400s | ISO320
Nara Park - Girl in Kimono Nara Park – Girl in Kimono – Canon EOS R5 with RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM | 451mm | f8.0 | 1/640s | ISO400


Where To Stay At Nara Park?

Best stays in Nara

Take off on a peaceful and exploratory adventure with our selection of the top accommodations in Nara Park. We’ll present you with tips on the best places to stay for a memorable experience at Nara’s famous park. Don’t search too long for a hotel in Nara to stay at, but book early because most of the accommodations fill up quickly.

 How long shall I stay in Nara?
Most of the tourists come just for a day trip to Nara Park, but there is much more to see around Nara. If you’re just coming to visit the deer in the park for leisure, I’d recommend a day trip or a one-night stay. If you are into photography, I would recommend staying for one or two days because the mornings are especially magical.

MIROKU NARA by THE SHARE HOTELS

Best value hotel

  • 10 min by foot to Sagiike pond
  • Modern and elegant rooms
  • Self-Checkin
  • Tip: make sure to take a room in upper floor

Bakery Hotel Chateau D'or

Best budget hotel

  • Rooftop
  • Close to Kintetsu-Nara Station
  • Simple breakfast

Hotel New Wakasa

Best mid-range hotel

  • Modern or traditional design
  • Rooms with private Onsen available
  • Delicious breakfast
  • Close to Nara Park

NIPPONIA HOTEL NARA NARAMACHI

Best luxuary hotel

  • Traditional design
  • Super friendly staff
  • Delicious breakfast

Nara Ukimido At Autumn Nara Ukimido At Autumn – Canon EOS R5 with RF15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM | 31mm | f8.0 | 1/100s | ISO320


How To Get The Best Shots With Deers?

Prepare Right For Deer Photography

Take some time to prepare for the best deer photos at the best photo spots at Nara Park. Purchase some deer cookies when you enter Nara; a pack of ten currently costs 200 yen. You will find sales booths on the larger paths. Typically, the cookie sales begin between 8 and 9 a.m. If you plan to spend the night in Nara, buy the deer cookies the day before and use them the following morning before anybody else can buy them. The deer near the stands know exactly what you bought, so be sure to hide the cookies first before you use them.
With these goodies in hand, you can easily entice the deer into the perfect locations for photos, guaranteeing breathtaking images against the lovely backdrop of the park. While capturing the deer’s inherent charm and beauty, pay attention to their behavior and keep a respectful distance.


Where To Find The Best Photo Spots?

Best Photo Locations in Nara

Explore Nara Park’s captivating beauty by perusing our detailed photography guide to the best photo spots at Nara Park. Our knowledgeable guides will take you through the most beautiful locations to capture priceless moments amidst the natural and cultural beauties of Nara Park, from historic temples to tranquil gardens to the park’s well-known deer-filled landscapes.


Sagiike pond at autumn

Best photo location in Nara

Location: Takabatakecho, Nara, 630-8301, Japan
Best time: early morning in autumn (late November)
Photography Equipment: wide lens and tripod
Photospot(s): Tree View | Small bridge | Footbridge
Opening Hours: 24/7
Entrance Fee: none
 Be early in autumn for tree photo spot at Nara Park
The location gets really crowded in the morning. If you want to be first and get the best spot, get 1 hour before sunrise here. But Japanese Photographers are really considerate, therefore you will always get a great shot.
Because the sunrise is behind the mountains, it takes a while until the sun is up.

Tucked away in the serenity of Nara Park is one of its most intriguing treasures: the elegant Ukimido pavilion at the Sagiike Pond. A photographer’s paradise, this area is calm and surrounded by vibrant fall leaves. As the season progresses, the neighboring maples and willows reflect the quiet waters of the pond, bursting into a rainbow of reds, yellows, and oranges. The Ukimido pavilion is the ideal focal point against this natural canvas because of its graceful architecture and meditative atmosphere. Autumn is a popular time for photographers to visit this location because of the scene’s ethereal beauty and peacefulness. This makes Sagiike Pond one of the best photo spots in Nara. 

Every viewpoint offers a beautiful composition just begging to be captured, whether it’s the pavilion framed by autumn leaves or the pond’s surface reflecting a symphony of hues. A visit to Sagiike Pond and the Ukimido Pavilion in Nara Park offers a once-in-a-lifetime photographic opportunity for anyone looking to capture the spirit of autumn’s fleeting beauty. Here, architecture and nature blend together to create a landscape of unmatched majesty. With some luck, you might also see some fog lying above the lake in the morning. Make sure to position yourself on the west side of the pond for sunrise. When the sun rises above the hills in the east, the leaves will turn golden.

Nara Park Ukimido at Momiji Nara Park Ukimido at Autumn – Canon EOS R5 with RF15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM | 26mm | f10.0 | 1/80s | ISO320
Nara Park Ukimido at Autumn Nara Park Ukimido at Autumn – Canon EOS R5 with RF15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM | 29mm | f8.0 | 1/200s | ISO320

Edosan

Golden autumn location

Location: 1167 Takabatakecho, Nara, 630-8301, Japan
Best time: autumn morning or afternoon, make sure the sun hits the trees
Photography Equipment: use everything you have to get different shots
Photospot(s): West side | East Side
Opening Hours: 24/7
Entrance Fee: none

The mesmerizing beauty of maple trees surrounds Edosan, a calm guesthouse that embodies the charm of Nara Park during the fall. One of Nara Park’s greatest photo locations provides photographers with a lovely backdrop in which to produce breathtaking images. A dense cover of maple trees envelops the guesthouse, making it a wonderful setting for any kind of photo. A narrow path meanders through the grove, providing a visually appealing leading line that improves shot composition and adds depth to the photos. By placing a friendly deer along the walkway by baiting it with cookies, you can enhance your photographic experience and get endearing and unforgettable images.

Nara Park at Autumn Momiji Nara Park at Autumn – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 172mm | f5.6 | 1/125s | ISO1600
Nara Park at Autumn Momiji Nara Park at Autumn – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 104mm | f2.8 | 1/1250s | ISO400

Kasuga-Taisha

Best photo spot in Nara

Location: 160 Kasuganocho, Nara, 630-8212, Japan
Best time: early morning
Photography Equipment: use everything you have to get different shots
Photospot(s): Stairs outside | Red Torii | Seijo-mon Gate | Inside
Opening Hours: March – October: 6:30 – 17:30 / November – February 7:00 – 17:00 for the inside, but all of the above mentioned photo spots are outside the pay area
Entrance Fee: ¥500
 Plenty of possibilities around Kasuga-Taisha-Shrine
Make sure to explore the surroundings of Kasuga-Taisha-Shrine, because there are hundreds of great photo spots nearby. The complete pathway from the city towards Kasuga-Taisha-Shrine is just amazing.

In addition to being a site of great spiritual value, Kasuga-Taisha Shrine in Nara, Japan, and its surroundings belong to the best photo locations in Nara for photographers who want to capture Nara’s deer within Japanese culture and the country’s breathtaking scenery. While the temple itself is magnificent, there are numerous beautiful locations nearby that you can reach without entering the shrine grounds. 

The vantage point above the red torii gates is one of the most famous places to take pictures close to the shrine. From this vantage point, photographers can get expansive views of the shrine’s magnificence against Nara’s surroundings. To put it simply, Kasuga-Taisha Shrine and the surrounding area provide a wide variety of interesting photo locations that capture the ageless charm of Nara’s natural and cultural environments. Every location offers a different chance to capture the beauty of this well-known location. This photography guide will highlight some of the best photo spots around Kasuga-Taisha Shrine and Nara Park.

 Worth to visit the Botanical Garden too
If you have time, it is also worth to visit the Manyo Botanical Gardens.
Nara Park Kasuga-Taisha Stairs with deers Nara Park Kasuga-Taisha Stairs with deers – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 200mm | f2.8 | 1/200s | ISO800
Nara Kasuga-Taisha Shrine with People Nara Kasuga-Taisha Shrine with People – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 163mm | f2.8 | 1/160s | ISO400

Second Torii

On the way to Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Location: Kasuganocho, Nara, 630-8212, Japan
Best time: all year long, but during the day, especially on weekends, it is very crowded. To avoid crowds be early here.
Photography Equipment: use everything you have to get different shots
Photospot(s): west side | from Saguri-Shrine
Opening Hours: 24/7
Entrance Fee: none
 Be early to avoid crowds
Because this photo spot is located on the main path towards Kasuga-Taisha-Shrine, it is difficult to get a photo without crowds. Beeing early increases the possibility.

The second torii gate of Kasuga-Taisha Shrine in Nara, Japan, is a mesmerizing landmark that attracts both pilgrims and photographers. The enchanting sight of Sika deer gracefully roaming the grounds greets visitors as they approach this majestic structure, adding a touch of wildlife charm to the scene. 

Nestled near the second torii gate is a giant Ginko tree, whose radiant foliage bathes the surroundings in a golden glow, particularly striking against the backdrop of dusk or dawn. As the daylight fades and the darkness envelops the shrine grounds, the tree’s leaves illuminate with a warm yellow hue, casting an ethereal ambiance that captivates the senses. Photographers often flock to this spot as the deer roam freely beneath the canopy, creating a scene straight out of a fairytale.

The second torii gate of Kasuga-Taisha Shrine is not only a place of spiritual significance but also a stunning photography location that showcases the harmonious coexistence of nature and culture in Nara. With the Sika deer adding a touch of charm and the giant Ginko tree casting its luminous glow, this spot offers photographers a wealth of opportunities to capture the timeless beauty and tranquility of this iconic destination. 

Nara Park Second Torii Nara Park Second Torii – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 124mm | f5.6 | 1/60s | ISO800
Nara Park Second Torii View from Kasuga-Taisha Nara Park Second Torii View from Kasuga-Taisha – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 200mm | f2.8 | 1/320s | ISO800

Mizuya Chaya

Best photo location in Nara

Location: 30 Kasuganocho, Nara, 630-8212, Japan
Best time: early morning, otherwise even more crowded / autumn makes this area super special
Photography Equipment: use everything you have to get different shots
Photospot(s): Stairs | Diagonal view
Opening Hours: 11:00–15:30 for the restaurant, but photo location is always accessible
Entrance Fee: none
 Most famous insta spot
Ok, this spot is most famous for taking pictures for insta, so it is nearly always packed with people, especially photographers. If you plan to model here, you might get the full attention of all the photographers around.

Mizuya Chaya Restaurant stands as one of the most iconic and Instagram-worthy photo spots in Nara, Japan. Situated amidst the serene beauty of Nara Park, this charming restaurant offers visitors a picturesque setting to capture unforgettable moments. What sets Mizuya Chaya apart is not only its traditional Japanese architecture and serene ambiance but also the enchanting presence of Sika deer that roam freely in the surrounding area.

Photographers travel to Mizuya Chaya to capture the magical interactions between the deer and visitors, creating heartwarming and captivating images that tell a story of harmony between humans and wildlife. Whether it’s a curious deer peeking around a corner or gracefully posing against the backdrop of the restaurant’s traditional architecture, every moment offers a unique opportunity for photographers to capture the essence of Nara Park. With the restaurant’s close proximity to The Deer Park Inn Hotel, accessing this iconic photo spot is both convenient and effortless, making it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Nara.

Don’t forget to bring your deer cookies with you!

Mizuya Chaya Restaurant in Nara Park at autumn Mizuya Chaya Restaurant – Canon EOS R5 with RF24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM | 43mm | f2.8 | 1/400s | ISO640
Mizuya Chaya Restaurant in Nara Park at autumn Mizuya Chaya Restaurant – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 70mm | f2.8 | 1/250s | ISO320

Chakutou-den Shrine

Belongs to Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Location: 160-7 Kasuganocho, Nara, 630-8212, Japan
Best time: all day long, but crowded during the day
Photography Equipment: tele-lens
Photospot(s): from the pathway to Kasuga-Shrine
Opening Hours: 24/7
Entrance Fee: none

Chakutou-Den Shrine is located in Nara, Japan, on the holy grounds of Kasuga-Taisha Shrine. It makes a beautiful background for photographers. This shrine provides a great framing for your photos, especially if you spot some deer on the path. That’s why Chakutou-Den Shrine counts as one of the best photo locations in Nara.
If you come here in the early morning, you will have this spot to yourself.

Nara Park Chakutou-Den Shrine Nara Park Chakutou-Den Shrine – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 100mm | f2.8 | 1/500s | ISO800
Nara Park Deer behind Chakutou-Den Shrine Nara Park Deer behind Chakutou-Den Shrine – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 200mm | f2.8 | 1/400s | ISO320

Wakamiya Shrine

Belongs to Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Location: 160 Kasuganocho, Nara, 630-8212, Japan
Best time: all day long, but crowded during the day
Photography Equipment: tele-lens with wide aperture
Photospot(s): Pathway
Opening Hours: 24/7
Entrance Fee: none

Wakamiya Shrine is a part of the Kasuga-Taisha Shrine complex in Nara, Japan. It has a beautiful walk that attracts photographers. Starting behind Kasuga-Taisha Shrine, the path to Wakamiya Shrine offers a stunning tunnel view, framed by towering trees and and the hundreds of stone laterns (ishi tōrō). The beautiful scenery is made even better by the fact that Sika deer roam freely in the area, adding a bit of wildlife charm to photos.

Wakamiya Shrine in Nara Park Wakamiya Shrine Pathway – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 104mm | f2.8 | 1/80s | ISO800
Wakamiya Shrine in Nara Park, Japan Wakamiya Shrine – Canon EOS R5 with RF70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM | 172mm | f2.8 | 1/250s | ISO800

Todai-ji Kagami-Ike Pond

Best photo spot at Nara Park

Location: 406-1 Zoshicho, Nara, 630-8211, Japan
Best time: late afternoon, when the sun is low but still shining over the trees
Photography Equipment: normal lens
Photospot(s): View on Tōdai-ji
Opening Hours: 24/7
Entrance Fee: none

Nara’s Todai-Ji Kagami-Ike Pond, with its beautiful scenery and views of Todai-ji temple, is a popular spot for photographers. Because it is close to Todai-ji’s temple, this beautiful spot is easy to get to without a temple grounds ticket. The calm water in the pond creates a beautiful mirror-like surface that reflects the area’s beauty and the grandeur of Todai-ji temple. Warm, golden light fills the scene as the sun goes down in the afternoon, warm, golden light fills the scene and gives the pond a majestic look. Take pictures of Kagami-Ike Pond and the Todai-ji temple while there. It’s not very busy, but it’s still worth it. Whether the bright colors of fall leaves frame the scene or the setting sun softly lights it, it doesn’t matter. Each time is a unique chance to capture the spirit of Nara’s natural beauty.

Best photo location at Nara Park Todai-Ji Kagami-Ike Pond – Canon EOS R5 with RF24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM | 24mm | f8.0 | 1/100s | ISO400

Search for more accommodations

Unlimited possibilties

 


Nara Park Photography Guide to the best photo locations in Nara
Travel Guide to the best photo and travel spots in Nara park

You may also like

Cherry Blossom Photo Location Guide for Tokyo

Greetings from Tokyo’s lovely cherry blossom world—a photographer’s paradise. Each spring, the city is transformed into a dreamy pink and […]

Read More
Experience the beauty and serenity of Kinkaku-ji - the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan

5 most incredible temples and shrines in Kyoto

Kyoto is one of the most beautiful cities in Japan, if not the world. It is best known for its […]

Read More
Train Station in Tokyo Taito

Tokyo Photography Guide to the best photo spots (incl. map)

Tokyo in Japan is a lively city with an abundance of photographic chances for street photographers. There is something for […]

Read More
Hakone photo location at sunrise with view on Mount Fuji - Japan

Hakone Photography Guide with the most epic photo locations

Through the lens of a photographer, we’ll show you the beautiful views of Hakone in depth. This photography guide will […]

Read More