Welcome to Nara
The centrepiece is the Daibutsu (Great Buddha), which rivals Mt Fuji and Kyoto's Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) as Japan's single most impressive sight. The Great Buddha is housed in Tōdai-ji, a soaring temple that presides over Nara-kōen, a park filled with other fascinating sights that lends itself to relaxed strolling amid greenery and tame deer.
Nara is also compact: it's quite possible to pack the highlights into one full day. Many people visit Nara as a side trip from Kyoto, but with an overnight stay (there's high-quality accommodation for all budgets) you might spend one day around the city centre, another exploring west and southwest of here (areas called Nishinokyō and Ikaruga, respectively) and/or another exploring more far-flung historical destinations.