Nara Park: Home to Many Wild Deer
Nara Prefecture, bordering Osaka and Kyoto, was the capital of Japan 1300 years ago.
Located within Nara Prefecture is Nara Park; an immense park measuring 660 hectares and occupied by over 1000 deer. These wild deer have been deemed a natural treasure by Japan.
Because there are so many deer in and around Nara Park, it has gained popularity over the years for allowing visitors to have up close and personal interactions with the deer.
This article serves to introduce the ways you can fully enjoy your experience at Nara Park.
How to Enjoy Nara Park
Begin by Buying Rice Crackers for the Deer
There are numerous stores selling rice crackers for deer in Nara Park.
All of these stores sell rice crackers in packs of ten for 150 yen.
The Rice Crackers
These rice crackers are made from flour and rice bran, which is the harder outer layer of the grain. Do not worry if a deer accidentally eats the paper binding the crackers together, as the paper is made from edible material.
While people can also eat these crackers, they are not particularly delicious.
Interact with the Deer!
Try Feeding the Deer!
Once you have purchased the rice crackers, deer will often begin to surround you.
Some deer even bow courteously when asking for the crackers. However, visitors openly holding out crackers are often mobbed by the deer!
To ensure this does not happen to you, try to keep the crackers in a place not visible to the deer, such as your bag, and feed the crackers to them one by one.
In recent years, because of the rise in tourists visiting Nara Park, deer have not been as hungry in the afternoons, especially during the tourist season in spring and fall.
If you want to feed the deer, it is better to visit the Park during the morning.
Try Feeding them Acorns
If you run out of crackers to feed the deer, you can still enjoy your experience at Nara Park.
Deer love to eat acorns as well, so even if you run out of crackers you can still collect acorns and feed them to the deer.
Precautions to Take When Interacting with Deer
While the deer in Nara Park are extremely friendly, remember that they are still wild animals.
While for the most part deer will cordially come over to you if you have rice crackers, there are occasionally deer that will butt and nip at you.
Especially during spring when mothers are tending their young, and during fall when it is mating season, deer tend to become rather hostile and irritable.
Additionally, during winter when food is scarce deer will often rely on tourists for the bulk of their food, and therefore can be a bit more aggressive.
It’s Not Just the Deer! Other Spectacular Aspects of Nara Park
There are Famous Temples and Shrines
Nara Park also has numerous spectacular temples and shrines, some of which have even been designated World Heritage Sites.
These include Todaiji Temple, renowned for its large Buddha statue, Kofukuji Temple, notable for its five-storied pagoda, and Kasuga Taisha Shrine, embellished in beautiful vermilion paint.
Other tourist attractions include the Nara National Museum, which hosts a collection of Buddhist art, and Mount Wakakusa, covered in beautiful green grass.
Take a Ride on the Rickshaw
As if that were not reason enough to visit Nara Park, rickshaws also operate within the park.
Taking a ride on one of these rickshaws and going sightseeing around Nara Park is also a spectacular experience.
Locations, like Nara Park, where tourists can have unrestricted contact with wild deer are few and far between.
It is a rarity to find a place both so full of nature adventure and culture at the same time.
When you come to Nara Prefecture, a visit to Nara Park is a must.