NAIST is conveniently located in Ikoma City, a city in northern Nara Prefecture, which is centrally positioned in the Kansai Area. Ikoma City itself has many temples and shrines, and offers many chances to experience the seasonal changes. There are various local festivals and events that you can experience while at NAIST. We recommend exploring the history, architecture and events of Nara and Kyoto, both historically important capitols that represent a major period of Japanese culture. Osaka is also nearby and very accessible, and you will find a bustling metropolis that is the second largest city in Japan known as the "nation's kitchen."
There are various volunteer guide services in the Kansai area that you may consult with online to arrange a trip specifically for what you would like to see.
Here is a brief list of sites with information to help you plan trips during your stay.
Ikoma City Tourism Association
Nara Prefectural Government Tourism Bureau Tourism Promotion Division
Nara City Tourist Association
Nara Prefecture International Citizens Center
Kyoto City Official Travel Site
Kyoto Tourism (Official site for Kyoto Prefecture)
Osaka and Kansai Area
Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau homepage
Kansai Sightseeing Web
Kansai Tourism Bureau