Nara Deer Park – Day Trip From Osaka, Japan

This post is part of a series from our recent holiday to Japan. You can read more about our adventures by clicking here – Japan With Kids.


We all adored the Nara Deer Park when we visited. Nara had been recommended to me by my dear friend Annie and also highly recommended by a number of lovely readers – Beth, Mel and Jasmine when I asked for recommendations of kid friendly places to visit in Japan in this post.

We made our way from our hotel to Osaka city and caught another train to Nara. The journey to Nara took around 50 minutes.
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It was about a 15 minute walk then through the gorgeous town streets to the deer park.
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I loved this sign at the entrance of the Deer park. There are apparently around 1200 deer in the park. They have become the symbol of the city of Nara and have also been designated a natural treasure.
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According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, a mythological god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Since then the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country. Source

The Deer Park is free to enter and you can buy food to feed the deer from one of the many stall holders for 150 Yen.
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The deer roam freely and while they are not necessarily tame, they certainly like to come and eat food from the kids’ hands. We did talk to the kids about being careful with the deer, not surprising them and explained how mother’s would be protective of the young, so avoid going to close the the little deers.
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Master 7 desperately wanted to take a photo of a baby deer and did get a little to close for its mums liking. He was lucky that when it kicked out at him, the hoof only brushed his face. It was certainly enough to give him a shock though, but thankfully it didn’t deter him from enjoying the deer park.
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It was a warm day when we visited and many of the deer took respite in mud and shade to keep cool. We had packed snacks and water for ourselves which came in very handy.
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Our daughter’s favourite animal is now a deer. I was surprised at how much I loved seeing the deer myself. They were graceful, gentle (mostly!) creatures. Since we have returned home and have seen the Christmas supplies head into stores, the kids are loving seeing deer decorations etc and recall what a wonderful time they had at the park.
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Within the deer park there are a number of beautiful temples to see and this amazing Five Story Pagoda.

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There is also the Nara National Museum to visit. We only visited the permanent collection, which had beautiful Buddhist statues, paintings, scrolls and other artefacts on exhibit. Photography was not permitted inside the museum. Entry was only 500 Yen.
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The walk back to the train station is a lovely one. Lots of shops to explore and plenty of deer souvenirs to purchase!
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The youngest one named his deer Nara and it was a constant companion in Japan and also since we have returned home.
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If you travel to Japan with kids, I would highly recommend taking a day trip to Nara. A day trip is very manageable from either Kyoto or Osaka. All of our kids loved the experience, including the 14 and 12 year olds. And on the plus side for parents it is a very budget friendly activity to do with the family.

Have you been to the Deer Park? Did your kids love it too?

The Planning With Kids family traveled to Japan courtesy of Jetstar.