Experience the long history of Heijo-kyo, the Nara capital
The site for Heijo Palace was established in 710 when the capital was transferred from Fujiwara-kyo to Heijo-kyo, and until its next move to Nagaoka-kyo in 784, the Greater Palace served as the center of Heijo-kyo, itself the center of Japan. The palace grounds were huge with an area of approximately 120 hectares. Heijo Palace, where you can get a glimpse of a gorgeous age when it flourished as the capital, was registered as the first World Heritage site that was an archeological ruin, and it is a tourist site that has plenty to be enjoyed through the course of a day. The main entrance for the palace, Suzaku Gate, was an important access point in terms of New Year’s festivities, official welcomes for foreign emissaries and the like. 800m due north from Suzaku Gate was the majestic Great Hall of State. The largest building in the palace complex, it was used for the most important affairs of state. It had an imposing presence with a diameter of 70m which made use of 44 vermilion pillars and 97000 roof tiles. As well, the East Palace Garden is also recommended for its lovely arrangement centered around a pond. All of the facilities can be viewed for free. The palace area is so wide that a leisurely tour would take about a day. Furthermore, the Heijo Palace Site Museum with its displays of earthenware and architectural models, the Restoration Information Building where the restoration of the Former Imperial Audience Hall is introduced through CG video and data samples and ancient technology can be tried out, and the Excavation Site Exhibition Hall can also be visited for free.
Head for the historical museum to learn more about Heijo-kyo
Recommended for those who want to know about Heijo-kyo in detail is the Heijo-kyo Historical Museum. Beginning from the Chinese mainland and the Korean peninsula, the history and cultural exchange with neighboring countries which influenced Japan in those days can be learned through themed displays and the Kentoushi Theater. Also, at the Heijo-kyo VR Theater, the appearance of the splendid Heijo-kyo from that time and its historical background are explained easily through video (admission required).