Nara Deer Park

Published on 10 August 2023 at 22:15

After a relaxing morning, we had a tasty tempura lunch in a very small restaurant before leaving for the deer park. We could barely fit the door closed behind us, and the owner fried our food just to our right. He is featured in the photos on the wall. 

Photo Gallery (tap and swipe)

Today's trip was to Nara Park, home of the sacred deer. When you offer them food, they bow politely. We purchased lots of Shika Senbei (deer crackers) made of flour and rice bran. If the deer know you have crackers, they might nudge you or nibble on your clothes. The deer really liked pulling on Caroline's clothes and purse! It was rainy, but so hot the rain actually felt good. When we treated ourselves to Starbucks afterwards, we saw an exhibit about the history of the deer. Since the time of the Sengoku period the deer have been protected as sacred to Kōfuku-Ji Temple and harming deer is considered a crime. The exhibit also had tips for feeding the deer, so maybe that should have been our first stop!

Of course, there were deer droppings everywhere, and I mean everywhere. What happens to them? There are about 40 types of dung beetles that live in the park and “clean up” the droppings. Also, droppings are collected and made into fertilizer that’s sold by the Nara Deer Preservation Foundation.

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