Hand Feeding Deer in Nara Park

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Rob Dyer The Real Japan

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Local authorities estimate there are more than 1,200 sika deer in Nara. They're so loved they've been designated a national treasure.

Sika deer Nara Park The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Nara Park

They can be found in the heart of the city in the central Nara Park. You can buy approved food to feed the deer with.

Kyoto and Nara: Full-Day Sightseeing Tour

However, if you are using the picnic tables that are available don't be surprised if inquisitive and hungry deer boldly walk up to your table and grab whatever happens to be available!

Nara deer warning sign The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Warning sign - the deer of Nara Park are wild animals

They're accustomed to seeing humans, so feeding them by hand is perfectly possible.

You can also pet and stroke the very friendly ones but, as amusing signs warn you, these are still wild animals so use caution.

Nara small deer The Real Japan

 

When Should You Go?

Spring is an ideal time as it enables you to see the seasonal sakura (cherry blossom) as well – typically around late March/early April in Nara.

Autumn (September through October) is the rutting season which can be a fun spectacle to watch.

VIDEO: Rutting Sika Deer at Nara Park


Resources

Tripadvisor's reviews of Nara Park will give you a good flavour for what to expect:
Nara Park - Tripadvisor

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Guide to Nara Park Area:
Nara Park Attractions

 

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