Nara Period

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  • Japanese: 奈良時代 (Nara-jidai)
  • 710-784 (794)

The Nara period takes its name from the site of the capital of Heijô-kyô in present day Nara, Japan. It was preceded by (and sometimes conflated with) the Asuka Period. Strictly speaking, it lasted from the founding of the capital of Heijô in 710 until it was moved to Nagaoka in 784. Since the capital at Nagaoka was occupied for only a decade, however, the period is often extended until the founding of the next major capital, Heian-kyô, in 794.

This period continued to witness the importation and adaptation of Chinese and Korean imperial and religious culture. It saw the expansion of Buddhist influence at the court, and both the Nihon Shoki and Kojiki were completed in the early Nara period. The court was presided over by the Temmu imperial dynasty, and saw the rise of the Fujiwara family. The period also saw military conflict, famine, and disease. It came to an end when the capital was moved north, ostensibly to escape the growing influence of the entrenched Buddhist institutions.


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