How to Feed the Deer in Nara Japan: Dos & Don’ts

Japan Travel Guide

Only 45 minutes train ride south of Kyoto, Nara is one of the tourists’ favorite place to visit in the Kansai area. The deer roaming in Nara Park is not only considered as the messengers of the gods in the traditional Shinto religion but also a national treasure. The deer have grown accustomed to being fed by the tourists, but some of them may seem overly aggressive when you are holding their food — Deer Snack! So here are some tips for you to stay safe feeding the deer in Nara.

(Photo by Shutterstock)

Everyone visiting Nara park is here for the deer. There are a lot of vendors selling deer snacks, the market price is ¥150 per pack, 8 crackers in one pack. Be reminded that the deer can only be fed on the deer crackers, please do not feed them with other human food, which will only harm their health.

Dos & Don’ts of Feeding the Deer

Photo by Vicky Ng on Unsplash

① Feed Them ONLY Deer Crackers

The deer can only consume grass or the special deer crackers sold in the park, please do not feed the animals with objects other than those two. The wrapping paper of crackers is consumable for the deer, please stay calm if the deer ate it too. However, if you are carrying other kinds of paper or bills, please put it inside your bag for the deer may eat them by mistake.

② Finish Your Food Before Entering the Park

If you get a snack on your way to the park, it’s recommended that you finish it off before entering the park. The deer are very curious of what you are holding in your hand, which is usually their deer crackers. They might try to eat your food, and if they succeeded, the deer might get sick.

③ Do not Tease the Deer

Photo by Joey Ly on Unsplash

Remember no matter how cute they are, the deer are still wild animals, and it can be incredibly dangerous to tease them. If you are out of crackers and the deer are still trying to follow you, raise your hand in the air and show your empty palms, they will leave you for the next target.

Top Attractions in Nara

Todaiji Temple

source: japan national tourism organization

Todaiji Temple (“The Great Eastern Temple”) is one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temples. As the landmark of Nara, Todaiji Temple has a history of over 1200 years, and it attracts visitors from around the globe. You will run into a lot of deer here as well, please feed the free-roaming animals gently.

➤ Opening Hours: November-March 8am-5pm, April-October 7:30am-5:30pm

➤ Fee: Adults ¥600, Children ¥300

Nara National Museum

(Photo by shutterstock)

Located inside Nara Park, Nara National Museum is an art museum which displays mostly Japanese Buddhist art. A ticket to the museum gives access to both wings of the building, English guides are available throughout the museum. Moreover, there is a huge grassland outside of the museum, you can find deer resting here as well.

➤ Opening Hours: 9:30am-5pm, Tue-Sun

➤ Fee: ¥520

Kasuga Grand Shrine

Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

After visiting all the deer-crowded areas, the last stop we are going to explore Kasuga Grand Shrine. Being established at the same time as the capital, Kasuga Grand Shrine (Kasuga Taisha) is Nara’s most celebrated shrine. People pray for health and relationships here. It’s a relatively serene place to have a nice stroll around the area.

➤ Opening Hours: April-September 6am-6pm, October-March 6:30am-5pm

➤ Fee: ¥500

Currently planning on your trip to Nara for the deer now? Don’t forget to rent your Japan WiFi Router in advance for uploading all the nice pictures of you surrounded by the deer!

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