If you start exploring Nara early in the morning you will see a few deer here and there trying to warm themselves in the sun, but by afternoon they will be everywhere, hoping you will have a coolie to share with them. For only 150-200 Yen you can buy several deer cookies (which the deer will know you have no matter where you hide them!). And when you pass by the deer, they will more often than not politely ask you for a cookie by bowing their heads.
As a caution! Do be sure to take heed of the warning signs scattered around Nara. My friend had one deer bite her butt, and another deer jump on here. This is most likely because they say the cookies she was carrying around in her hand. I kept the cookies in my coat pocket the whole time and never had any issues.
If the deer do frighten you try feeding the baby or female deer, they were much less aggressive than the males.
Possibly one of the most magical aspects of Nara was seeing the deer around the shrines and temples. I’m not exactly sure why, but they add an extra special dimension to the experience of visiting a temple.
You can visit all of Nara for a fairly low cost, just make sure to bring some amazing walking shoes!
My Nara spending breakdown:
• Deer cookies = 300 Yen • Ema = 700 Yen • Todaiji Temple = 500 Yen
Add in lunch for around 1000 Yen and you are under 3000 Yen (28 USD) for an unforgettable experience.
I highly recommend Nara to anyone that will be in the Kansai area. And if you can stay for a few days (which will let you visit even more of this beautiful area) check out staying at the Wakasa Bettei. Being able to experience traditional Japanese Ryokan in this area that is so rich in culture and history was beyond amazing!
Have you been to Nara? What was your favorite part?