Surprising Encounter with the Sacred Sika Deer in Nara, Japan

The train left Osaka and took us an hour to get to Nara. This city is the capital of Japan's Nara Prefecture in south-central Honshu. Nara has nearly eight (8) UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including numerous Buddhist temples and shrines dating back to the 8th century, when it was Japan's capital. And one of the most exciting parts of our trip was walking among hundreds of freely roaming Sika deer in Nara Park (one of the oldest parks in Japan) and near the entrance of Todaiji Temple.
kintetsu nara station
Kintetsu Nara Station   
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 no bar or cage is obstructing our view, and we could see them up close, touch and feed them.Click the link to watch the video here.

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

We were lucky to stumble, this beautiful and amiable deer (photo below) who appears as serene and gentle at the entrance gate, and we were able to touch and even petted 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 a day turn into a fun and unforgettable experience!


These wild animals are generally tame and accustomed to the presence of many people but be careful. They get a little too excited and aggressive and try to approach you from all sides 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 herd of deer. And oh, he did get a slight bite on his butt! Ouch! So folks, always try to stay alert! 


Sika Deer in Japan was considered and venerated in Shinto to be messengers of the gods in the 11th and 12th centuries. Now, Nara's nearly 1,400 deer have become a symbol of the city and, under the designation of MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology),  classified as a natural treasure. (source)  To see the deer in action, click the link to watch the video here.
#anasiantraveler #Nara #travel #Japantravel #sikadeer

Toodles, until next time,
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AN ASIAN TRAVELER, Exploring Asia!