A Guide to Heijo Palace in Nara

The Heijo Palace ruins are in an area in the west of Nara City, and measure about 1.3 kilometers east to west, and 1 kilometer north to south. It is one of the world heritage sites included in the "Historical Monuments of Ancient Nara". Most of the grounds are grassy lawns, but the Suzaku-mon Hiroba Square is the main sightseeing area, with the symbol of Heijo Palace, the "First Daigokuden Hall" at its center, among other  buildings reconstructed to look like they did when they were originally built.

About Heijo Palace

In 710, the capital was moved from the "Fujiwara-kyo" area of the Asuka Era, and until it was moved again 70 years later to "Nagaoka-kyo", this palace prospered as the center of the politics, economy and culture of Japan. There were many buildings at the Heijo Palace, including buildings that were the historical equivalent of the modern-day Parliament buildings and the Imperial Domicile. Now, it is protected as a special historical site, and some buildings, such as the First Daigokuden Hall and Suzaku-mon Gate have been reconstructed, and construction on more buildings is currently underway. There is also the Excavation Site Exhibition Hall, where you can see excavated items and documents about the palace, as well as "Tempyo Umashi-kan", which has a cafe and restaurant, and the "Tempyo Mitsuki-kan", which sells special products from Nara Prefecture as souvenirs. 

Highlights of Heijo Palace

The Suzaku-mon Gate in the Suzaku-mon Hiroba Square

The first highlight is the Suzaku-mon Gate itself. The main gate of Heijo Palace, it was reconstructed in 1998 and measures 25 meters across and 22 meters high, and features one of the traditional roof styles, the "Irimoya Double Structure" style. At the time of palace's use, the gate was a place for festivals and welcoming foreign envoys, and it's said that at the new year, the emperor would come to the gate for greetings. To either side of the gate are 6 meter tall Tsuiji Ogaki style roofed mud walls where palace guards were stationed. Also in the Suzaku-mon Hiroba Square is 30 meter long boat that you can board, and the Excavation Site Exhibition Hall, where you can see what life was like back in that era by viewing excavated materials and documents.

Spot Information

  • Spot name: Suzaku Gate / 朱雀門
  • Business Hours: 9:00~16:30 (last entry 16:00)
  •  Holidays: Every Monday (If Monday is a national holiday, it will be closed the next day instead), December 29th - January 3rd
  • Entrance Fee: Free

Spot Information

  • Spot name: Excavation Site Exhibition Hall / 平城宮いざない館
  • Business Hours: 10:00-18:00 (last entry 17:30), summer hours (June - September) are 10:00 - 18:30 (last entry 18:00)
  • Holidays: The 2nd Monday of February, April, July and November (If Monday is a national holiday, it will be closed the next day instead), and around New Years
  • Entrance Fee: Free

The First Daigokuden Hall

The 2nd highlight is the First Daigokuden Hall. It was a very important building, where ceremonies such as the coronation of the emperor were held. It was reconstructed in 2010. They have also reproduced the Takamikura Throne, where the emperor sat. In the future, they plan to reconstruct the wall that surrounded the hall and the southern gate.

Spot Information

  • Spot name:  The First Daigokuden Hall / 第一次大極殿
  • Business Hours: 9:00 - 16:30 (last entry 16:00)
  • Holidays: Every Monday (If Monday is a national holiday, it will be closed the next day instead), December 29th - January 3rd
  • Entrance Fee: Free

 Access to the Heijo Palace Site

About 20 minutes on foot from the Kintetsu Yamato-Nishidaiji Station South Gate, towards the Tamate-mon Gate, or take the local bus from Kintetsu or JR Nara Station's West Gate towards "Gakuen-mae Eki-yuki" and get off at the "Suzaku-mon Hiroba-mae" bus stop. From Kintetsu Nara Station, you can also take the Gurutto Bus for 100 yen, and buses come every 15 minutes on weekends and holidays, and every 30 minutes on weekdays.

Spot Information

  • Spot name:Heijo Palace Site / 平城宮跡
  • Address: Saki-cho, Nara-shi, Nara-ken, 630-8012
  • Access: Get off at the "Suzaku-mon Hiroba-mae" bus stop.
  • Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi available at the Heijo Palace Site Museum and the Heijo Palace Site Park Suzaku-mon Hiroba Square
  • Language:Official website are available in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean. At the Excavation Site Exhibition Hall, there are multi-language (English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean) Heijo Palace Site Park guide maps and Excavation Site Exhibition Hall leaflets.
  • Ticket:Free
  • Holidays: Varies by the facility


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