Travel enthusiasts will most likely know about Nara (奈良市) – that awesome place with the giant park where tame deer roam freely through the streets, the temple grounds and the shops. Nara, once the old capital of Japan (710-784), is located about 42 kilometres south of Kyoto. If you are staying in Kyoto or Osaka, it is worth making a day trip to Nara to see the gorgeous deer. We certainly enjoyed ourselves! Apart from the wildlife, there are also many historical sites and scenic areas to visit such as the Kasugayama Primeval Forest, the Tōdai-ji Temple and the Kasuga Taisha Shrine (all UNESCO World Heritage Sites).
The deer – Japanese Sika deer, or “spotted deer” – are quite docile, though they are considered wild, so they may sometimes exhibit aggressive behaviour like headbutting and nudging (especially when they want food)! You can buy special “deer crackers” (shika senbei 鹿せんべい) to feed them with. They usually bow to you (very adorable!) if they sense you have food, but they can also get really greedy and try to hassle you for some, so watch yourself!