About 290 miles west of Tokyo, there’s a magical place called Nara where over 1,200 wild deer live in harmony.
The deer are a symbol of the city and are considered national treasures.
In Shinto tradition, deer are sacred messengers of the gods.
Back in ancient times, killing a deer was punishable by death.
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.
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.
While they can be cute and friendly, there are warning signs like these scattered all over.
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.
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.