The park having so many deer on its grounds, is the location of Nara’s main attractions.
Nara Park (奈良公園) , located in the center of the city of Nara is a huge park, extending about 4 km from east to west and about 2 km from north to south.
The park, established in 1880 is the location of many of Nara’s main attractions including Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga-Taisha Shrine, Kofuku-ji Temple and the Nara National Museum.
Nara park is home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. According to Shinto tradition, deer are considered as the sacred messengers of the gods. Nara’s deer are very tame, though they can be a little aggressive if they think you will feed them. Visitors can feed them deer crackers which is sold around the park, and some deer have learned to bow to visitors for some crackers.
Inside the park area, small streams, ponds and great temple roofs, pagodas peeking through the woods add charm to the scenery. In spring, you can enjoy the late-blooming “Nara-yae-zakura” after the iconic Someiyoshino cherry blossom have fallen.
The hike to the top of Mt. Wakakusayama, at 342 meters, is a good exercise that you can easily enjoy. Visitors will be treated to a beautiful panoramic view of the city from the top.
Address : 160-1 Kasuganocho, Nara, 630-8212
Access : 17-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara station
Shika-yose, the deer gathering
“Shika-yose” is the way to gather the deer. Deer will be followed the sound of the horn, and many deer will come out from the forest. A peaceful scenery that can only be seen in Nara.
Nara To-Kae Candle Festival
Nara To-kae “燈花会” is held at Nara National Park. Tens of thousands of candles will be lit up on the historical land including Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga-taisha Shrine, Ukimi-do, Kofuku-ji Temple,
“TO-KA” means a lump of flower shape on the top of a candlewick after lighting a candle. It is believed to be good fortune when the flower shape is made.
Candles are lit one by one with best wishes for the visitors. You can light your own candles at anywhere you want
In the large park, you can spot some patches of red maple and yellow gingko trees along the pathways and a grove of maple trees are lined a canal just to the southwest of Todai-ji Temple.