Cute but slightly scary deer in Nara – Japan
Hundreds of deer in Nara Park roam free, wander the streets, eat crackers, relax under trees, and love life. They are considered sacred and apparently they outnumber the human population of Nara.
The deer are cute but can be slightly dangerous, especially if you’re holding food. I had my bum bitten twice, my jacket nibbled on, I was embarrassingly chased down, and my bag of roasted sweet potato was nearly ripped from my hands. I ended up giving most of my crackers to my friend who also got harassed. So if you want to avoid any sort of attack – don’t carry food.
Surrounding the park are food stalls and shops selling deer souvenirs and deer crackers.
Around the same area are a few Buddhist temples. The one worth going inside is Todai-ji; hall of the great Buddha It’s the largest wooden structure in the world and costs 800 yen to enter.
It’s a bit of a journey to get there from Tokyo so I would probably recommend staying the night in Kyoto as the deer park is just an hour train from there.
How we got to Nara from Tokyo:
– Early morning Shinkansen from Shinagawa Station to Kyoto (3 hours travel time)
– JR train from Kyoto to Nara station (1 hour trave time)
– Follow the signs to walk to Nara Park (20 mins)
You will have to go into any JR Ticket office to pre-book your journey and reserve your seats. It’s worth it to pay for a reserved seat as I have once been stuck sitting on my suitcase outside of the toilet for a 3-hour trip from Kyoto to Tokyo and it wasn’t fun.
The cost of the Shinkansen will be around AU$300 return for a reserved seat (unless you have a JR Pass, then it’s free). If you are planning on doing several journeys on the Shinkansen on your holiday, I highly recommend ordering a Japan Rail pass before you leave your country. There are a lot of websites that sell them. I forgot which one I used but this website looks ok www.japanrailpass.com.au I bought one lasting a week and it cost around $333. You activate it from a Japan Rail ticket office when you arrive in Japan, and even pick a day you want to start using it. It gives you unlimited travel on any JR line, and reserved seats on the Shinkansen.