About Nara Palace Site Historical Park

About Nara Palace Site Historical Park

Heijo-kyo

Japan’s first true city, the city of Heijo-kyo was built about 1,300 years ago. Constructed on a sweeping scale with a total area of some 2,500 hectares organized into a system of regular divisions, Heijo-kyo became a cosmopolitan city that incorporated Asian culture, art, and technology that had been transmitted to Japan from China and the Korean peninsula. The period saw the compilation of the historical chronicles Kojiki and Nihon shoki as well as a dramatic flowering of Buddhist art, the effects of which remain visible to this day in the form of such structures as Todaiji Temple.
This era, during which Japan began to take shape as an ancient state centered around Heijo-kyo, is known as the Nara Period.

The Nara Palace Site

Nara Palace, the center of Heijo-kyo Capital, served as the emperor’s residence and housed various government agencies and offices. After a long period during which the site was used for agricultural and other purposes following the removal of the capital to other locations, a move toward preserving the area began around the beginning of the 20th century. Thanks to subsequent archaeological excavation and research, a picture of Heijo-kyo as it was during ancient times began to emerge.
The Nara Palace Site was designated as a Special Historic Site in 1952 and then inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as a constituent element of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara” site in 1998.

Nara Palace Site Historical Park today

Work to reconstruct various structures and gardens-including Suzaku Gate, the First Imperial Audience Hall Compound, the East Palace Garden, and the Supposed Ministry of the Imperial Household―based on archaeological excavations and research continues at Nara Palace Site Historical Park. The park incorporates features designed to help visitors imagine how the area actually appeared at the time, including reconstructions of the platforms on which buildings were built and Japanese boxwood trees planted at the locations of structural columns.
Another appealing aspect of Nara Palace Site Historical Park is its rich natural environment, which includes ponds, wetlands, grassy fields, and woods. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of bird and insect life.

Creating a place where “the Nara period can be experienced today”

Research on the various ruins that have been preserved in excellent condition underground continues at Nara Palace Site Historical Park, and the park plans to announce the results of that work in the future. At the same time, the park is working to develop greenspaces, walkways, and rest and information facilities to enable its use as an extensive and pleasant space for recreation and relaxation inside the city. The development of Nara Palace Site Historical Park continues as part of a long-term effort to create a place where visitors can enjoy a multisensory experience of ancient Japan. The park welcomes visitors from both Japan and overseas.

Suzaku Avenue Historic Site
Suzaku Avenue Historic Site

Heijo-kyo’s main street. At 74 meters in width, Suzaku Avenue is more plaza than road.

Suzaku Gate Reconstruction
Suzaku Gate Reconstruction

Heijo-kyo’s main gate. Suzaku Gate was used in ceremonies such as the welcoming of foreign envoys.


First Imperial Audience Hall Compound Reconstruction
First Imperial Audience Hall Compound Reconstruction

The First Imperial Audience Hall Compound was used for the most important ceremonies, for example the accession of new emperors.

Demarcation of the Foundation of the Imperial Domicile
Demarcation of the Foundation of the Imperial Domicile

The emperor’s private space. Locations where structural columns stood are marked by Japanese boxwood trees.


Reconstruction of the Supposed Ministry of the Imperial Household
Reconstruction of the Supposed Ministry of the Imperial Household

These government offices were responsible for managing the day-to-day life and property of the imperial family.

Demarcation of the Platform of the Second Imperial Audience Hall
Demarcation of the Platform of the Second Imperial Audience Hall

An imperial audience hall built by Emperor Shomu. The platform affords a panoramic view of the mountains surrounding the city on four sides.


East Palace Garden Reconstruction
East Palace Garden Reconstruction

These beautiful gardens were used to hold banquets and ceremonies.

Demarcation of the Foundation of the Ministry of Military Affairs
Demarcation of the Foundation of the Ministry of Military Affairs

Site of the government offices that were responsible for administering soldiers and weapons.


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