Nara Trip: An Awesome Encounter with the Sika Deer

sika deer

The train left Osaka and took us an hour to get to Nara. One of the most exciting parts about our trip is walking among hundreds of freely roaming Sika deer in Nara Park particularly near the entrance of Todaiji Temple. The smell of deer scents assailed our nostrils as we strolled into the walkway leading to the temple. You can imagine the smell, but that didn't matter to us. What I like about here is that there's no bar or cage obstructing our view and we could actually see them up close, touch and feed them.

kintetsu nara station
Kintetsu Nara Station

deer food stall
a snack vendor selling a pack of "shika sembei" (deer biscuits) to visitors

visitors with deer



We were lucky to stumble this deer at the entrance gate and we were able to touch and even stroke it for a long time. Surprisingly, it didn't budge at all. It made us feel welcome and we felt like an immediate connection blossomed. It was truly an awesome experience!

lovely deer I won't forget you

These wild animals are generally tame but be careful they get a little too excited and aggressive when they see you have "deer biscuits" in your hand. Look at HB who was feeding them but tried to run away from the attacking deer. And oh, he did get bitten in the butt! Ouch! :D


A warning sign for visitors.

wild deer warning signs for visitors

Deer in Japan is considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, Nara's nearly 1200 deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated as a natural treasure. (source)

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AN ASIAN TRAVELER, Exploring Around Asia!