“Dear, look!” “Don’t sweet-talk me, pal!” “No! Look, there are hundreds of deer, ma’am!” What is going on here? We’re talking about the world’s most interesting and exciting deer attraction – Nara Deer Park in Japan.
What’s The Deal?
While we’ve all visited petting zoos, most people haven’t experienced deer haven quite like this. The Nara Deer Park is definitely worth writing home about. For one, the hundreds of deer we’re talking about aren’t confined to cages, fences or even to the perimeter of the park itself. These deer live and roam freely around the quaint city of Nara. While tourists flock to major cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, they easily miss the magical experience of Nara. Nara is a small city that is all about deer! From romantic coffee shops that serve up deer cookies (shaped like deer, jeez!) to artworks decorating the city, Nara is truly a deer paradise.
What Is There To Do There?
The first thing you should do after arriving in Nara is find a stand where you can pick up deer crackers. The crackers are really cheap, costing you less than a dollar for a bag. Next you can approach any deer and feed them, but just know that they’ll probably swarm you way before you’ve even handed over the 150 Yen to the vendor. For centuries these deer have become semi-domesticated, to the point that they know how to “ask” for snacks. They’ll bow their heads in greeting to visitors in exchange for treats.
Where Did They Come From?
So where did all these majestic creatures come from? The locals believe that Takemikazuchi, a Shinto deity, first came to Nara on a white deer. The god served as a protector of Nara which was then the capital of Japan. For centuries, killing a deer was considered a capital offense worthy of a capital punishment. Today Japanese law protects the safety of these deer ensuring that they are safe from the hands of harm.
Is It Safe?
Now, even though these critters seem like a friendly bunch, they do get quite pushy when they’re hungry. Don’t we all? It is completely safe to feed and pet them, but don’t be surprised if one of them pushes his head into your butt while he’s waiting. Sometimes they might do this when they think you have food, even if you don’t.
Sooo, Nara for the win? It’s beautiful, it’s majestic, it’s romantic and it’s inhabited by more than 1,000 wild-yet-tame deer. it’s home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites and it’s an experience we all deserve to treat ourselves (and Bambi) to. Check out the video below if you’re still not convinced.