ANIMALS

Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 

What could be more pleasant and relaxing than strolling placidly through a public park surrounded by 1,200 deer in a state of semi-freedom? You will find this and much more in the deer park at Nara, one of the most famous and popular in Japan.

Established in 1880, this park is a true oasis for deer, which were considered sacred in Japan until 1637, and still held in the highest esteem as a mythical and noble animal.

The park is completely free and open every day of the year-a must-see for tourists who happen to be on this side of the Japanese island.

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Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 
What could be more pleasant and relaxing than strolling placidly through a public park surrounded by 1,200 deer in a state of semi-freedom? You will find this and much more in the deer park at Nara, one of the most famous and popular in Japan. Established in 1880, this park is a true oasis for deer, which were considered sacred in Japan until 1637, and still held in the highest esteem as a mythical and noble animal. The park is completely free and open every day of the year-a must-see for tourists who happen to be on this side of the Japanese island.
ANSA foto
Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 
The deer park of Nara is located in Japan at the foot of Mt. Wakakusa. It is among the "places of scenic beauty" designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).
ANSA foto
Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 
The main reason this park is known is because it is home to 1,200 deer (sia/shika, in Japanese), semi-wild, also classified as a "natural monument" by MEXT.
ANSA foto
Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 
Over the years, these animals have figured out perfectly how to relate to humans. So, in addition to special crackers that can be bought throughout the park, these mammals often enjoy eating visitors' objects as well, especially maps for orientation.
ANSA foto
Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 
They are very docile animals, however, and it is even possible, with caution, to approach them to pet them or to take a picture. After feeding them, it is possible for deer to perform a deep bow, raising and lowering their heads in a gesture that melts the heart.
ANSA foto
Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 
The deer, in Japan, was considered a sacred animal. This was because one of the four shrine gods Kasuga, Takenomikazuchi-no-mikoto, was said to have been invited by Kashima, and appeared on Mt. Mikasa-yama riding a white deer. Therefore, the deer was considered divine and sacred by the shrine Kasuga and Kōfuku-ji.
ANSA foto
Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 
This sacredness lasted until 1637, when still killing one of these animals was punishable by death. After World War II, the sacred aura was permanently removed, leaving it with only the title of "national treasure."
ANSA foto
Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 
The official size of the park is about 502 hectares, the area including the territories of Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji and the Kasuga sanctuary, which are enclosed in the park in Nara, thus reaching a size of 660 hectares.
ANSA foto
Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 
This park is also perfect for photography enthusiasts, who often waste their days looking for the best spots to take unforgettable images. The photographs that can be taken from the  Wakakusa mountain park are very beautiful, when climbing the mountain in the evening. Here you can see a beautiful glimpse of the Nara landscape with its most famous attractions.
ANSA foto
Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 
Besides the deer, there are many other things to see inside the park. For example, the Great Buddha Hall in Todaiji. At 15 meters high and weighing an estimated 300 tons, this is the largest bronze Buddha in the world. In addition to this, also note Shinyakushiji, famous for its statue of the Medicine Buddha, and the 50-meter-high pagoda of the nearby Kofukuji.
ANSA foto
Discovering Japan: the Nara deer park 
Admission to the park is completely free and access is guaranteed 365 days a year.
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