Nara, Nara


Nara, Nara
Nara
奈良
—  Core city  —
奈良市 · Nara City
From top left: Wakakusayama Mountain Burning, Great Buddha of Todai-ji, Yakushi-ji, Todai-ji, Kasuga Shrine and a deer in Nara Park

Flag
Location of Nara in Nara Prefecture
Nara is located in Japan
Nara
 
Coordinates: 34°41′N 135°48′E / 34.683°N 135.8°E / 34.683; 135.8Coordinates: 34°41′N 135°48′E / 34.683°N 135.8°E / 34.683; 135.8
Country Japan
Region Kansai
Prefecture Nara Prefecture
Government
 - Mayor Gen Nakagawa
Area
 - Total 276.84 km2 (106.9 sq mi)
Population (January 1, 2010)
 - Total 368,636
 - Density 1,331.58/km2 (3,448.8/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
City symbols
- Tree Quercus gilva
- Flower Nara yaezakura
- Bird Japanese Bush Warbler
Phone number 0742-34-1111
Address 1-1-1 Nijō-ōji, Nara-shi, Nara-ken
630-8580
Website City of Nara
Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara *
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Country Japan
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv, vi
Reference 870
Region ** Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 1998 (22nd Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List
** Region as classified by UNESCO

Nara (奈良市 Nara-shi?) is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. The city occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture, directly bordering Kyoto Prefecture. Eight temples, shrines and ruins in Nara, specifically Tōdai-ji, Saidai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangō-ji, Yakushi-ji, Tōshōdai-ji and the Heijō Palace remains, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest, collectively form "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Contents

History

for pre-modern history of Nara

Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 794, lending its name to the Nara period. According to the ancient Japanese book Nihon Shoki, the name "Nara" derived from the Japanese word narashita meaning "made flat".[1][2]

The temples of Nara remained powerful even beyond the move of the political capital to Heian-kyō in 794, thus giving Nara a synonym of Nanto (南都 "The Southern Capital"?).

In 2010, Nara celebrated the 1,300th anniversary of its ascension as Japan's imperial capital.[3]

Modern Nara

In the modern age, as the seat of the prefectural government, Nara has developed into a local center of commerce and government. The city was officially incorporated on February 1, 1898.

Geography

The city of Nara lies in the north end of Nara Prefecture, directly bordering itself to Kyoto Prefecture in its north side. The city is 22.22 km from North to South, from East to West. As a result of the latest merger, effective April 1, 2005, that combined the villages of Tsuge and Tsukigase with the city of Nara, the city now borders Mie Prefecture directly to its east. The total area is 276.84 km².[4]

The downtown of Nara is on the east side of the ancient Heijō Palace site, occupying the northern part of what was called the Gekyō (外京), literally the outer capital area. Many of the public offices (e.g. the Municipal office, the Nara Prefectural government, the Nara Police headquarters, etc.) are located on Nijō-ōji (二条大路), while Nara branch offices of major nationwide banks are on Sanjō-ōji (三条大路), with both avenues running east-west.

The highest point in the city is at the peak of Kaigahira-yama, alt.822.0 m (2,696.85 ft) (Tsugehayama-cho district), and the lowest is in Ikeda-cho district, with an altitude of 56.4 m (185.04 ft).[5]

Climate

The climate of Nara Prefecture is generally temperate, although there are notable differences between the north-western basin area and the rest of the prefecture which is more mountainous.

The basin area climate has an inland characteristic, as represented in the higher daily temperature variance, and the difference between summer and winter temperatures. Winter temperatures average approximately 3 to 5 °C (37 to 41 °F), and from 25 to 28 °C (77 to 82 °F) in the summer with highest readings reaching close to 35 °C (95 °F). There has not been a single year since 1990 with more than 10 days of snowfall recorded by Nara Local Meteorological Observatory.

The climate in the rest of the prefecture is that of higher elevations especially in the south, with −5 °C (23 °F) being the extreme minimum in winter. Heavy rainfall is often observed in summer. The annual accumulated rainfall totals as much as 3,000 to 5,000 mm (118.11 to 196.85 in), which is among the heaviest in Japan and indeed in the world outside the equatorial zone.

Spring and fall temperatures are temperate and comfortable. The mountainous region of Yoshino has been long popular for viewing cherry blossoms in the spring. In autumn, the southern mountains are also a popular destination for viewing fall foliage.

Climate data for Nara, Japan (1981~2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.9
(66.0)
23.9
(75.0)
25.9
(78.6)
30.5
(86.9)
32.7
(90.9)
35.8
(96.4)
37.3
(99.1)
39.3
(102.7)
36.9
(98.4)
32.0
(89.6)
26.8
(80.2)
21.7
(71.1)
39.3
(102.7)
Average high °C (°F) 8.7
(47.7)
9.6
(49.3)
13.4
(56.1)
19.8
(67.6)
24.1
(75.4)
27.2
(81.0)
30.8
(87.4)
32.6
(90.7)
28.2
(82.8)
22.2
(72.0)
16.5
(61.7)
11.4
(52.5)
20.4
Average low °C (°F) −0.2
(31.6)
−0.1
(31.8)
2.3
(36.1)
7.4
(45.3)
12.5
(54.5)
17.5
(63.5)
21.8
(71.2)
22.6
(72.7)
18.8
(65.8)
12.1
(53.8)
6.4
(43.5)
1.9
(35.4)
10.3
Record low °C (°F) −7
(19)
−7.8
(18.0)
−5
(23)
−2.4
(27.7)
1.4
(34.5)
7.3
(45.1)
12.2
(54.0)
12.8
(55.0)
7.7
(45.9)
2.3
(36.1)
−2.6
(27.3)
−6.6
(20.1)
−7.8
(18.0)
Precipitation mm (inches) 49.6
(1.953)
63.3
(2.492)
103.2
(4.063)
97.7
(3.846)
143.5
(5.65)
188.8
(7.433)
165.1
(6.5)
111.8
(4.402)
163.3
(6.429)
111.1
(4.374)
71.4
(2.811)
47.3
(1.862)
1,316.1
(51.815)
Snowfall cm (inches) 2
(0.8)
4
(1.6)
1
(0.4)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1
(0.4)
8
(3.1)
humidity 69 69 68 65 69 75 77 74 77 77 76 72 72.3
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.5 mm) 7.9 7.9 12.3 10.6 11.3 12.9 11.8 8.6 11.5 9.8 8.3 7.7 120.6
Avg. snowy days 1.4 1.9 0.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 4.8
Sunshine hours 116.7 115.5 147.4 180.3 184.8 143.5 162.7 205.4 150.3 154.5 134.5 127.3 1,822.9
Source no. 1: Japan Meteorological Agency[6]
Source no. 2: Japan Meteorological Agency (records)[7]

Demographics

As of 2005, the city has an estimated population of 373,189 and a population density of 1,348 persons per km². There were 147,966 households residing in Nara. The highest concentraton of both households and population, respectively about 46,000 and 125,000, is found along the newer bedtown districts, along the Kintetsu line connecting to Osaka. There were about 3,000 registered foreigners in the city, of which Koreans and Chinese are the two largest groups with about 1,200 and 800 people respectively. There were slightly fewer than 1,200 deer in Nara in 2005.[4][5]

One of the entrances to Kofukuji Temple
Deer roaming in central Nara among Sapium sebiferum trees

Landmarks

Deer in Nara

According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, a mythological god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Since then the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country.[8]

Tame deer roam through the town, especially in Nara Park. Snack vendors sell "shika sembei" (deer biscuits) to visitors so they can enjoy feeding the deer. Some of the deer have learned to bow in response to tourists' bows.[citation needed] They nudge, jostle, and even bite for food.

Education

As of 2005, there are 16 high schools and 6 universities located in the city of Nara.

Universities

Nara Women's University is one of only two national women's universities in Japan.

Primary and secondary education

Public schools

Public elementary and junior high schools are operated by the city of Nara.

Public high schools are operated by the Nara Prefecture.

Private schools

Private high schools in Nara include the Todaiji Gakuen, a private school founded by the temple in 1926.

International relations

Twin towns/sister cities

Nara, according to its own official record, has three sister cities in Japan and five sister cities overseas.[9][10]

Japan In Japan

Outside Japan

Gallery

References

  1. ^ "奈良の語源" (in Japanese). http://www.nara-u.ac.jp/forest/forest-a46.html. Retrieved 2006-05-24. 
  2. ^ Yamada Munemutsu 山田宗睦, trans. Nihon shoki 日本書紀. Vol. 1. Newton Press ニュートンプレス, 1992. p. 159.
  3. ^ Tabuchi, Hiroko (2010-01-03). "Happy 1,300th to Nara, Japan". The New York Times. http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/travel/03headsup.html?hpw. Retrieved 2010-05-19. 
  4. ^ a b "City Profile of Nara". Nara City. 2007-04-02. http://www.city.nara.nara.jp/b_hp/english/profile/index.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-02.  For more details and latest figures, navigate to the equivalent Japanese page at the official homepage [1]
  5. ^ a b "奈良市統計書「統計なら」平成17年版(2005年版)(Nara City Statistics, Year 2005 Edition)" (in Japanese). http://www.city.nara.nara.jp/icity/browser?ActionCode=content&ContentID=1146477996507&SiteID=0000000000000&ParentGenre=1146554098431. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  6. ^ "平年値(年・月ごとの値)". Japan Meteorological Agency. http://www.data.jma.go.jp/obd/stats/etrn/view/nml_sfc_ym.php?prec_no=19&prec_ch=%8B%FA%98H%8Ex%92%A1&block_no=47780&block_ch=%8B%FA%98H&year=&month=&day=&elm=normal&view=. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  7. ^ "観測史上1~10位の値(年間を通じての値)". Japan Meteorological Agency. http://www.data.jma.go.jp/obd/stats/etrn/view/rank_s.php?prec_no=19&prec_ch=%8B%FA%98H%8Ex%92%A1&block_no=47780&block_ch=%8B%FA%98H&year=&month=&day=&elm=rank&view=. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  8. ^ "奈良のシカの歴史 (The history of deers in Nara)" (in Japanese). http://www.naradeer.com/prof-histry.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  9. ^ http://www.city.nara.nara.jp/b_hp/english/kokon/kuryu/index.htm
  10. ^ Vladimir, Russia recognizes Nara as one of its sister cities, while Nara does not.Sister cities of Vladimir
  11. ^ "Canberra's international relationships - Canberra's international relationships". www.cmd.act.gov.au. http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/international. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 

External links


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