The crystal quality of a -plane GaN films was improved by using epitaxial lateral overgrowth on a nanorod GaN template. The investigation of x-ray diffraction showed that the strain in a -plane GaN grown on r -plane sapphire could be mitigated. The average threading dislocation density estimated by transmission electron microscopy was reduced from 3× 1010 to 3.5× 108 cm-2. From the temperature-dependent photoluminescence, the quantum efficiency of the a -plane GaN was enhanced by the nanorod epitaxial lateral overgrowth (NRELOG). These results demonstrated the opportunity of achieving a -plane GaN films with low dislocation density and high crystal quality via NRELOG.