Nara: Nara Park

Located in Nara City, Nara Prefecture in Japan, Nara Park (奈良公園 Nara Kōen)is a public park popular for the hundreds of free roaming wild sika deer.

Nara Park was established in 1880. It is designated as one of the "Places of Scenic Beauty" by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The official size of the park is about 502 hectares but some says its bigger than that. The park includes the grounds of Tōdai-ji Temple, Kōfuku-ji Temple and Kasuga Shrine. You could also find the Nara National Museum in the park.
Some deer free zone of the park
Can you spot the deer?
Hey bro got some crackers?
Aww so sweet!
Me: Smile! Deer: No!
Map of the park vicinity
The deer crowd even the entrance of the temple
So cute!
Going back to what makes the park unique -the deer... Many people tend to ask why there are so many of them and why they are allowed to roam freely? Well, according to local folklore, the sika deer in the park and surrounding areas are sacred animals. It all started when one of the four gods of Kasuga Shrine, Takemikakazuchi-ni-mikoto was invited to visit the place. It was said that he appeared on Mt. Mikasa-yama riding a white deer. Since then the deer in that area were considered divine and sacred. Killing one of these animals is punishable by death. The last recorded incident when a person was punished for killing one of these sacred creatures was in 1637.
Daddy help!
We visited Nara Park on the 16th day of our 27-day visit in Japan. My wife and daughter (including me of course) enjoyed feeding the deer some shika-senbei or deer crackers which you could purchase in stores in some parts of the park. It is funny how the deer would approach you once they see you holding the crackers. If you try to hide the crackers the deer would bow down as if begging its master. 
My wife feeding the deer
Yum!
Deer poop! Really?!
Aside from the deer, we also enjoyed what we did in  Tōdai-ji Temple... but that is another story.

Getting there:

From Kansai Airport, you can ride a limousine bus which will bring you to JR Nara Station. from there you could walk going to the park.
Road to Nara Prefecture
Another way to reach the park from the airport is by riding the JR Kansaikuko Line from Kansaikuko Station to Tennoji Station then transfer to the Yamatoji Line (Rapid Service) and get off at JR Nara Station.

You could also ride the Nankai Line (Rapito Service) from Kansaikuko Station to Namba Station then change to the Kintetsu Nara Line (Limited Service) and get off at Nara Station.


Ratings:
Crowd
Cleanliness
Overall rating

Comments

  1. this is so wonderful ,i think a situation where the animals can mingle with mankind in a controlled environment is a great step forward in thinking ,
    thanks for the article and sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome sumit. =) Japan also has a rabbit island which is worth visiting.

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  2. So sweet. Children will go crezy with all those deers. p.s. I would love to drive though the Japanese highway just to see those boardsigns... So cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha. That was a first... I never knew boardsigns are cute. =P

      Delete
  3. Interesting park. Glad you and family had fun. I noticed that the deer had no horns. Are they removed for visitors' safety ? Why do they sell deer poop ? Any significance to that ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes they remove the horns for safety and also to sell them as souvenirs. The deer poop are actually biscuit-like food which is edible. They are riding the deer hype.

      Delete
  4. Nara Park is such a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for the detailed informative article on it.
    This place is now in my bucket list. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am so sad that I wasn't able to visit this in Japan. My fellow bloggers who extended their stay did. I remember feeling sorry for myself that I couldn't extend because I had to go back to work. Would have been amazing to hang out with the deers up close.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you revisit Japan, try to visit Okunushima also. I bet you'd love it.
      Okunushima for those who does not know is Rabbit Island.

      Delete
  6. Wow, just like you, I also love ambling around the Park. I haven't heard about Nara Park and it is amazing. The deer looks so adorable and seemed to be really friendly. I haven't seen a deer in my entire life, I hope to see one soon. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting my blog Laiariel. You should try visiting this place when you go to Japan. You'd surely love interacting with these creatures. Careful though some of them have temper too.

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  7. I love Nara Park. The deer are very interesting part of my visit (and others' visit for sure). I'm glad you figured out how to get there. I couldn't remember how I got there because my friend drove. But yeah, after Nara Park I also went to thE Todaiji temple.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Erica, thanks to the efficient train system of Japan, Nara is just a stone throw away from Kansai International Airport. The experience here is truly amazing indeed. =) Hope to see your adventures in Japan. =)

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