A Fabulous Day Trip to Nara (奈良市)

Nara Deer Park

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).

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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!

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15 thoughts on “A Fabulous Day Trip to Nara (奈良市)

    1. Nara is one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever been to. I’d also like to visit Tashirojima (better known as “Cat Island”), where the cat population is larger than the human population! And also, Pig Beach in the Bahamas! Because who can resist all these places where adorable stray animals roam freely? :)

    1. I highly recommend Nara to anyone travelling to Japan! There are also many other places in the country that would appeal to animal lovers: Aoshima and Tashirojima (both islands are inhabited by more cats than people), Okunoshima Island (inhabited by wild bunnies) and Miyagi Zao Fox Village (where foxes roam freely). I haven’t been to these places, but they are definitely on my bucket list!

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