Best day trips from Kyoto- Nara park, deer heaven


Just an hour away from Kyoto, Nara Park  has become internationally famous for a very cute reason- hundreds of free roaming deer! Considered the messengers of God, the deer are revered and very well fed there. As someone who loves animals, I just had to set aside a day to visit the park. The journey there is really enjoyable as well, giving fantastic views of the country sides and distant mountains.
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The moment you enter the park you see the cute deers wondering around. There are plenty of opportunities to take photos with them and feed them. These deer are very used to humans and will (sometimes aggressively) approach you if you have food. They will also bow when you bow at them, and expect some food as a reward.
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The horns of the deer seem to be shaven down, probably because these deer do headbutt people for food, but most of the time they are very pleasant. You just have to be smart and keep the deer food out of sight when you're not feeding them to avoid being surrounded by hoards.
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I love how although it is technically called a park, the area is heavily forested and very beautiful, especially as you walk deeper into the park. It feels very natural and spacious, even though the area is touristy.
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The Kasuga Taisha Shrine within the park is absolutely beautiful, and is also a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s a really tranquil place, although a bit crowded at times. The path leading the shrine is lined with stone lanterns, giving a mystical feel to the area.
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There is a small entrance fee for the main attraction there, its beautiful bronze lanterns lit within a dark room in the shrine. There are also plenty of lanterns visible from the outside.
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Nara park has a wonderful charm to it and I definitely recommend it, especially if you love animals (specifically deer). It's great for a day trip, and is really accesible from major cities Kyoto and Osaka.
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Asha Mehta