The Magical Deer of Nara, Japan

wild deer in japanwild deer in Japanwild deer in Japan

If the idea of deer as deities, roaming throughout a Japanese city and welcomed wherever they go doesn’t fully convince you of the awesomeness of Japan, I don’t know what will. We took an amazing day trip out from Osaka to visit the magical city of Nara, and love on some of these deer.

Our son was enchanted. He spent the first few minutes running around, hesitant to actually touch the deer, but THRILLED to wave to all of them and say “Hi! Hi deer! Hi!” He then got a little braver when he saw some bigger ones with antlers: “Mama! It’s a daddy deer! Look, mama!”

The deer, however, weren’t hesitant at all. Especially when it came to searching for snacks.

Maybe there were some hiding in the stroller?

wild deer in Japan


Nara, Japan

This guy has some snacks!

wild deer in Narawild deer in JapanIMG_5027

We’d been warned in advance that the deer were very aggressive when it came to getting food – they might even bite – but as long as you didn’t have any food, they were perfectly friendly. So we skipped buying the crackers and just enjoyed their company.

Deer in NaraJapanese Deer

It turns out though, that the deer will also eat anything that SEEMS like food. These ladies found out the hard way that maps were included.

wild deer in Japanwild deer in Japan

The deer knew better than to mess with the cracker sellers though. Look at this deer-free shot!

Nara JapanNara Japan

I didn’t know my favorite Japanese hat was getting inspected for ability to be eaten.

Nara Japan

Luckily I guess it wasn’t delicious.

wild deer in Japan

The warning signs make the deer seem like ninjas.

Nara Japan

I like to think these guys were just out for a stroll through the city together, maybe coming back from brunch.

Nara Japan

It was so special to visit with these deer, and this is one of my all-time favorite photos of our son. I hope he always has a sweet heart for being kind to animals.

wild deer in Japan


Nara is a very easy day trip from Osaka or Kyoto and spectacularly worth it. Visit Inside Kyoto for great travel itineraries & ideas.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Anthony says:

    Nara…one of the more relaxing places in Kansai.


  2. I had no idea this was a thing over there!! How amazing. I’ve gotten to feed deer before but they wouldn’t let us get close to pet them like that. Such amazing pics! And that sign is too funny ha!

    ~Krisztina Clifton |


    1. Kate says:

      Thanks so much! It was such a highlight of our life here so far.


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