Nara Park is a large park in central Nara. This beautiful park engulfs within its premises shrines, temples, gardens, and deer. Established in 1880, it is the location of many of Nara’s main attractions including Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha, Kofukuji and Nara National Museum.
The park is home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Nara’s nearly 1200 deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated as a natural treasure. You can feed them with the crackers that you can buy from the vendors in the park. We paid 150jpy for a bag of about 8 crackers. Be prepared to be surrounded by a lot of them once you start feeding them. One of them stole my banana which was really quite funny.
The park is huge, free to get in and full of deer. Yes, there is a musk smell and you still have to be wary of a wild animal but it is beautiful. You can touch the deer and take photos with them without any fear of aggression. Nara’s deer are surprisingly tame, they really are very comfortable being around humans, probably because they do it every day.
As with most attractions in Japan, very well organized and of course, extremely clean.
We enjoyed seeing the deer and interacting with them. As with the Miyajima Island, you need to be careful not to let them get too aggressive. I was nipped on the back a few times and they tugged on my clothes to get attention but I was never hurt nor frightened by them. In fact, I found them to be charming and lots of fun. They bow their head every time they ask for food and bow after the food for respect just like the people of Japan
It was such a fun morning mingling with the deer and also visiting the shrines, temples and enjoying the lovely gardens.