Notes from Nara, Japan - Nara deer friend or doe ...
Nara looks dreamy doesn't it? A bit like at any moment someone could break into song and the rest of the adorable forest creatures would be joining Eve in the picture.
Seeing the deer at Nara was on my must do list while we were in Japan. Sure Japan is the home of rabbit, fox and cat islands and all kinds of cute animal cafes but the Nara deer were certainly an adorable drawcard in an already lovely location.
The deer by nature are nocturnal and in the sweltering summer heat, for the most part, they're happy to lay there and let you lavish attention on them, get close for photos and even scratch them behind the ears. They're a smaller breed of deer and the only kind to not lose their spots on reaching adulthood, which amps up the adorable factor.
For a tiny amount of money you can buy adorably packaged deer biscuits to feed the adorably sleepy deer. The deer that make you wonder what on earth these signs are on about...
... that is until they spot you with food.
In which case expect them to at least attempt most of the above. I don't have a lot of evidence of the deer shoving because it's kind of hard to get your shots in focus while you're being bitten on the butt by multiple deer. But yeah, there's a world of difference from that Disney Princess experience up the top when you're food free and the seconds after that they spot you with "deer cookies".
Those bites do sting, but while there wasn't any broken skin or bruising after the fact, but I would definitely recommend enjoying the deer without feeding them. If you're feeling like indulging in some schadenfreude you can just sit back and watch them mob anyone that is silly enough to feed them!
Nara is approximately a one hour train ride from Kyoto or Osaka if you take the shinkansen (bullet train) from Osaka. Another reason to invest in Japan Rail pass if you're going to be exploring in Japan as a tourist.
Other things to do:
There are several temples in Nara, in walking distance of visiting the deer. You can even crawl through Buddha's nostril in hope of obtaining enlightenment in your next life at near-by Todai-Ji temple (more on that here).
The pretty streets between the train station and the deer park are dotted with restaurants and souvenir stores, and in general Nara is a quiet beautiful place for a day trip while in Japan.