Making Friends with Deer at Nara Park in Japan

Woman feeding a deer in Nara

Making Friends with Deer at Nara Park in Japan

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If you’re looking for a new place to add to your bucket list, it’s time to add Nara, Japan. Not only is Nara a great city to explore, full of temples and ancient structures, but it also has a huge population of wild deer! You heard that right, deer. Crazy, right? Nara Deer Park is actually home to roughly 1,000 wild deer, they do, however, roam outside the park, and can be easily spotted throughout the city. You can take a trip to the beautiful park, where you’ll be able to spot them everywhere, or just take a stroll around the city, where there’s no doubt you’ll find some checking out the scene.

Deer in Nara, Japan

The deer in Nara are quite used to humans, so don’t be surprised if they aren’t scared of you like the ones you may have encountered back home. You also will find plenty of vendors around the city selling deer crackers, so if you’re interested in feeding them, you’ll have no problem doing so! You’re guaranteed the opportunity to feed, pet and maybe even snuggle up next to some of the friendly Bambis all over the city.

In the Shinto religion, deer are believed to be messengers of the gods and are therefore sacred. For a while, it was considered a capital offense to kill deer in Nara. Now, they are considered national treasures, and it is evident that the residents there have lots of respect for their furry friends.

Koriyama Castle

Nara also has a lot of other things to offer besides hanging out with deer. The city used to be the capital of Japan and has a rich history. It has a population of about 350,000 people, making it much than other famous Japanese cities like Osaka or Tokyo. Nara is also home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With plenty of gorgeous historical shrines and temples for you to visit, your day will be a lot busier than just feeding deer.

If on your trip to Japan, you don’t plan to stay in Nara, there are plenty of ways to still check it out. If you’re on a time crunch, one day in Nara is usually enough to check out the highlights, but if you don’t want to miss any of the temples, we recommend staying the night. Nara is a short train ride from both Osaka and Kyoto, with the quick commute being just about 30-45 minutes.

A deer looking into camera

Overall, there are so many great reasons for you to visit Nara, Japan. Whether is fulfilling your childhood dreams by befriending a deer, or visiting historical sites that are sure to awe you, Nara has everything a traveler needs. We don’t know about you, but we’re definitely adding it to our bucket list.