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Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan, near Kyoto. Seven temples, shrines and ruins in Nara, specifically Todai-ji, Saidai-ji, Kofuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Gango-ji, Yakushi-ji, Toshodai-ji and Heijo Palace Remains, collectively form "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nara was the capital of Japan during most of the Nara period, from 710 to 784. The city was modelled after the capital of Tang Dynasty China, Chang'an (present-day Xi'an). The capital was then relocated to Nagaoka-kyo in the Yamashiro Province, before being moved to Heian-kyo in 794, the start of the Heian Period. About origin of the city name "Nara", according to the ancient Japanese book ' Nihon Shoki ', it came from a Japanese word ' narashita ' which means 'made flat'. In the modern age, as the seat of the prefectural government, Nara has developed into a local center of commerce and government. The city was officially incorporated on February 1, 1898.

Because of its many temples and shrines, Nara is a famous tourist destination. Mythologically speaking, it is said that when the first emperor of Japan, Jimmu, descended from heaven, he rode a deer and arrived in Nara. The sacred deer that wander Nara are said to be its descendants.

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