The Deer of Nara, Japan

I originally started writing a post about Nara, Japan, and while I was looking through my pictures, I noticed that I had so many of the deer that roam freely in Nara. To some this may be the biggest attraction in Nara. I certainly enjoyed their company and it was a unique experience that I have never experienced before. Deer are very peaceful animals, they are tamed, and so adorable. I definitely took a lot more pictures of the deer than I did of the city itself.

Why All the Deer? 

The deer in Nara are considered to be Nara’s natural treasure and are a protected animal. According to legend, one of the four gods from the Kasuga Shrine (also located in Nara), Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto, was seen riding a white deer. This signified the deer to be a sacred animal. Although they are officially no longer considered to be sacred animals, they are very much loved and respected in the city of Nara. They roam the streets and fields of Nara Park freely. They certainly make Nara a unique place to visit! 

About the Deer

You can buy food from a number of vendors in the park to feed the deer with. You might even spot some deer bowing down to you, which means that they want to be fed. 

The deer are very peaceful, and as long as you do not harass them, they are very gentle. We did see some people get headbutted by a couple of deer with horns, but they were teasing them with food so, in my opinion, they had it coming. 

But I know for certain, getting headbutted by a deer with horns would not be fun, as I saw this happen to some people and heard them yell out a painful “OW!” 

So where can you find the deer? Well, quite frankly, anywhere and everywhere. You can find them in the fields, forests, sidewalks, or streets…

…outside of stores…

…inside of stores, socializing with store owners…

…eating in front of temples…

…and posing for tourists.

Whatever your reason may be to visit Nara, these beautiful deer will surely brighten up your day. 

Happy Travels Everyone! 


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