As anyone with a friend who has visited knows, people always come back from Japan with the coolest stuff. Whether it’s rare records, some amazing vintage threads or incredible tales of robot restaurants and seriously decent pre-packaged meals, there’s never a shortage of cool Japanese anecdotes to inspire travel envy and garner social media likes.
One of the most ubiquitous images that comes from any trip to Japan is a shot of the visitor surrounded by a herd of adorable deer, often against the backdrop of a traditional temple. These images are taken in the city of Nara, and this amazingly weird city is a must-see for any visitor to the country.
In Nara, deer are regarded as sacred animals due to the legend of the mythological god Takemikazuchi arriving in the city on a white deer. As such, tame deer are free to roam the town, with most of them centred around Nara Park. Here, you’ll find snack vendors who sell biscuits to visitors who can feed these to the deer while coaxing them to pose in their selfie.
As the city is so compact, it’s possible to befriend some deer and see the sites in a day trip from either Osaka or Nara – both under an hour away by train. The Japan Rail Pass (prices vary, but we recommend this for the duration of your stay in Japan) will cover your trip on Japan Railways. Once you arrive, a one-day Nara bus pass (500 Yen or $5.75AUD) will provide unlimited use of local Kotsu busses for the day.
(Photos: Taryn Stenvei)