Asia

Inside Japan’s Magical Park Where Deers Bow to Humans For Food

About 290 miles west of Tokyo, there’s a magical place called Nara where over 1,200 wild deer live in harmony.

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The deer are a symbol of the city and are considered national treasures.

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In Shinto tradition, deer are sacred messengers of the gods.

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Back in ancient times, killing a deer was punishable by death.

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Inside Nara itself is Nara Park (奈良公園, Nara Kōen), a public park established in the 1300s and is one of the oldest parks in Japan.

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In Nara Park, hundreds of deer roam around and regularly interact with park visitors.

 

They’ve gotten so used to the presence of humans that they now see them as a source for food.

For 150 yen (roughly $1.30), you can buy deer crackers to feed them.

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While they can be cute and friendly, there are warning signs like these scattered all over.

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Some were friendly and let us pet them.

Others were aggressive and would shove us and bite our jackets demanding food.

Fun fact: if you bow to the deer, they’ll bow back to you. Why? We have no clue.

If you’re patient enough, you might even be able to get a cool selfie.

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They even know how to use crosswalks to navigate through the city.

Nara is a 2 hour bullet train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto, followed by a 40 minute subway ride to Kintetsu Nara Station.

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