checking in: noborioji, nara

Nara feels like a world away from the big cities of Japan. It’s second only to Kyoto when it comes to temples with no less than 8 UNESCO world heritage sites, as it was Japan’s capital way back in the 8th century.

The famous park is the main draw for visitors, where you’ll find most of the temples, shrines, lakes and deer, lots and lots of deer… hungry deer whom are so tame they aren’t afraid to eat your clothes in the quest for biscuits. Oh dear. Most people go for one day but if you’re travelling around we’d suggest spending the night in Noborioji, the small luxury hotel to recoup before you hit the bright lights of Kyoto or Osaka.

Noborioji has just 12 rooms and is located on the edge of the park, a stones throw from Kofuku-ji temple. In fact it’s so close you can see the park and the deer from the most of the rooms. The spacious suites, with huge living rooms and separate bedrooms, have floor to ceiling windows to benefit from said views. In the bathroom there’s a jacuzzi bath with built in TV plus a separate shower and two brands of luxury products and when we say products we mean the whole range of each collection. HELLO hair tonic.

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Given that there’s only 12 rooms it feels like you’re staying in somebody’s house and the service is impeccable, they caterer to your every demand. There’s a dark, sexy hotel bar, French restaurant which is also where breakfast is served – either traditional Japanese or western style eggs.

The hotel is also conveniently located for the train station and main town too, if you’re in the mood for food take our tip and head to Maguro Koya, an old school tuna house serving tuna a number of ways – the Tataki and miso soup is exceptional. Noborioji is the perfect little pit stop between sprawling metropolises and great place to kick back and gather your thoughts.

40-1 Noborioji-cho, Nara city, 630-8213, Japan