Japan's first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara (奈良). Before that date, the capital used to be moved to a new location whenever a new emperor ascended to the throne.
However, as the influence and political ambitions of the city's powerful Buddhist monasteries grew to become a serious threat to the government, the capital was moved away from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 and a few years later to Kyoto.
Nara is located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, the city remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples.
Side Trips from Nara