Nara Deer Park: The Coolest Animal Experience In Japan

Have you ever wanted to know how to make new friends?  Look no further!  This is how you do it.  Granted, they will be deer, not people, but who doesn’t want a deer friend?  My point exactly.  Everyone does.

I didn’t do pretty much any sort of planning going into Japan, but I sort of knew about the Nara Deer Park between Kyoto and Osaka.  What to expect at it?  I had no idea.  Deer, I guess.


Just a train and bus ride away, we found out these weren’t just any deer.  These deer are friendly, pushy, and not afraid of anything.

There are ladies around selling the little biscuit cookie things that you can feed the deer for just 150 Yen.  This is a solid investment as they can go pretty quick.  We both ended up buying two because we had to use some to get the deer away from us.  But didn’t we want the deer by us?  Well, sort of.  Sometimes.


The deer here are of all ages and the big ones can be a little (a lot) intimidating.  These are the more aggressive ones that will pull on your sweater, tug on your purse, or bite you on the butt.  I’m not even kidding.  I saw that happen.

Once you feed one on the main walkway you become Snow White and have a following of at least four more.  The only way to get them to leave you alone was to throw some biscuits on the ground to distract them.  Sometimes they would still chase us as we ran away.  That was when we vowed to only feed the small deer.  They were far less intimidating and much more adorable.


The park is actually pretty huge and we could have spent all day there I’m sure, but we just had the afternoon on the sprawling grounds.  There were countless temples to explore when you wanted a break from feeding deer, but those will come later.  This is for the deer.

This one was a model deer.  It just stood there on the corner for us to take its picture.  Then we each fed it a biscuit for being so patient and adorable and that’s when it started.  We had a new best friend.


Being as friendly as we are, we both thanked it and told it how cute it was and went on our way.  But wait!  He wasn’t done with us yet.  He hopped down and trotted after us begging for more.  What’s one more going to hurt?

Well, five minutes later he was still walking with us.  We kept giving him biscuits to see how long he would follow.  We stopped and eventually he realized that was the end and it was time to say our goodbyes.  It was the end of a short friendship, he was off to find new biscuits.


I would like to note that these are wild deer.  There are signs warning about this that they will attack you, kick you, knock you down, you know, deer things.  So when I was told that they bow to you if you don’t feed them, I wasn’t sure I believed it.

Then I saw them actually do it.  These wild deer bow to you if you hold out a biscuit and don’t give it to them.  What!?  How do they know how to do that!?  Why did they start doing that!?

Seriously, if anyone knows, please share!


And for just one biscuit, you can take selfies with them!  I mean, how could you pass that opportunity up?  Having a wild deer mere inches from your face?  We obviously couldn’t along with countless other park visitors.  It might take a few tries, but it’s totally worth it.

Overall this was one of my favorite things in Japan, if not my entire trip.  Once we even suggested the park, I knew I had to go.  It’s just too cool!  I would highly recommend going to Nara, even if it’s just for a couple hours.


feed-deer spend-a-day

Have you been to Nara?  What did you think of it?  Do you want to go?  

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