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Nara Park

Divine deer at one of the oldest parks in Japan.

Experience firsthand one of Japan’s most iconic tourist destinations: Nara Koen. Located next to the grounds of Japan’s Buddhist temple, Todaiji, this is where you’ll find the majority of Nara’s attractions, spread throughout the picturesque, tree-lined park.

The park is famed for its free-roaming deer population. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill Bambis though: these are sacred deer. For millennia, these creatures have been thought to be the messengers of the Shinto gods.

Give us the crackers and nobody gets hurt.

That certainly explains part of their appeal, but most tourists just want to feed the cute, bowing animals. Most of these deer are adorable and it’s well worth paying the 150 yen for shika-senbei or deer crackers. Be aware that they can get a little over-excited by food. So don’t freak out when you inevitably turn around to find you’ve become the Pied Piper of Nara.

You could easily spend all day exploring Nara Park and chilling with its doe-eyed inhabitants. However if you do out-deer yourself, purchase a ticket for the Nara National Museum for 520 yen. For those with even a passing interest in Buddhism or Japan’s earliest history, this is a treat. Permanent exhibitions focusing on Buddhist art and sculpture work as crash courses for foreign visitors. After you can put your newfound knowledge into practice at Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha and Kofukuji temples.

Things To Know

Entrance Fees

If you want to feed the deer, expect to pay around ¥150 for pack of crackers.

How To Get There


469 Zōshichō, Nara-shi, Nara-ken 630-8211, Japan

By bus

From JR Nara Station, you can take a bus (from the East Exit, bus #70 and #97). Kintetsu Nara Station also has buses (Nara City Loop Line Bus #2, the Inner Loop Bus #6, #70, #72, #97 and #160 run to Nara Park from the North exit). The Nara Bus Pass is available for as cheap as ¥500 yen for a 1 Day Pass. Please visit their official website for more information: http://www.narakotsu.co.jp/language/en/free-ticket/index.html

By foot

Nara Park is easily accessible from both JR Nara and Kintetsu Nara Stations. The walk from the former being around 25 minutes and the latter, 15 minutes. Souvenir shops line the route and is definitely recommended if the weather is good.

Where To Stay

Shisui Luxury Collection Hotel Nara
  • 62 Noboriojicho, Nara-shi, Nara, 630-8213 Japan
  • ¥66,033 - ¥326,750
  • 0.7 km
Fufu Nara
  • 1184-1 Takabatakecho, Nara-shi, Nara, 630-8301 Japan
  • ¥114,400 - ¥114,400
  • 4.71/5 (65 reviews)
  • 0.9 km
Hotel Obana
  • 1110 Takabatakecho, Nara-shi, Nara, 630-8301 Japan
  • ¥9,130 - ¥28,160
  • 4.48/5 (627 reviews)
  • 1.2 km
Hotel Tenpyo Naramachi
  • 1-1 Taruicho, Nara-shi, Nara, 630-8218 Japan
  • ¥15,273 - ¥18,198
  • 4.45/5 (155 reviews)
  • 1.3 km
Bakery Hotel Chateau D'or
  • 15 Higashimuki Kitamachi, Nara-shi, Nara, 630-8214 Japan
  • ¥2,600 - ¥13,500
  • 4.44/5 (283 reviews)
  • 1.4 km