Seeing the Deer Park in Nara has been a dream of mine for years but I was not prepared for how crazy they can be! The second I saw the deer, I made a beeline to one of the little street vendors around the park selling small packages of crackers to feed them. I walked up to a baby deer and held up one of the crackers and the craziest thing happened; it BOWED. It wasn’t one of those “maybe it was just looking at the ground for food?” kind of bows, it was the legitimate “I have been trained to do this for food” kind. We still make jokes that everyone in Japan always politely bowed, even down to the animals!
We walked around taking turns feeding and bowing and having the time of our lives with these cute little animals. But after a few minutes, we must have been pegged as the ‘ones with food’ and had deer following us everywhere bumping against our legs and nipping at our pockets! It wasn’t anything scary though (like the monkeys in Zhangjiajie – still have nightmares).
They were smart. They even waited their turn to cross the street until the walk sign blinked on! It was such a cool day. We wandered around to the nearby temple and pagoda, and right at the bottom of the steps behind the pagoda was souvenir heaven with tons of little shops with handmade crafts. Nara is a cute city, but the deer park is what really made it worth the trip.