Nara, known as Japan's first permanent capital, is famous for its ancient temples, shrines, and historic sites. However, one of the most unique experiences in Nara is the opportunity to interact with the friendly and charming deer that roam freely through the city's park.
Nara's Deer Park, or "Shika no Mori," is home to over 1,000 Sika deer that are considered to be messengers of the gods in Shinto religion. These deer are protected as a national treasure and have become a symbol of Nara's natural beauty and charm.
Visitors to the park can purchase special crackers, called "shika senbei," to feed the deer. The deer have become accustomed to the crackers and will often approach visitors looking for a snack. It's an incredible experience to be surrounded by these gentle animals and to interact with them up close.
However, it's important to remember that these deer are still wild animals and should be treated with respect. Visitors should follow the park's rules and guidelines, such as not touching or harassing the deer, and not feeding them any food other than the designated crackers.
In addition to the deer, Nara's Deer Park is also home to several notable historic sites, including Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Todaiji Temple is one of Japan's most famous temples and houses the world's largest bronze statue of Buddha. Kasuga Taisha Shrine, on the other hand, is known for its thousands of lanterns that light up the shrine's path.
Visitors can also enjoy a peaceful stroll through the park's wooded paths and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding area. The park is particularly stunning during the fall when the leaves change color, creating a beautiful backdrop for the deer and temples.
In conclusion, Nara's Deer Park is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Japan. The opportunity to interact with these gentle animals in such a unique and beautiful setting is an experience that should not be missed. And while you're there, take the time to explore the park's historic sites and natural beauty, and appreciate the beauty and charm of this ancient city.
Top 5 Things to do in Nara | japan-guide.com