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Baby Deer at Nara Park in Japan 2024

The deer may be not the only attraction of Nara Park, but they are definitely the most popular one, especially the little ones

Best time: June–August

Baby Deer at Nara Park
Baby Deer at Nara Park

The deer have become a symbol of Nara City and a natural treasure of Japan. In Nara Park, more than a thousand of them freely wander around and interact with visitors. They are considered to be wild although they tend to be surprisingly tame.

In Japan, these animals are considered to be 'the messengers of the gods' and are treated accordingly. Not only are they protected by the law but also much adored by the tourists who are allowed to hand-feed the deer. Special rice cookies—shika senbei—are sold around the park as snacks for the animals. They are so used to being fed that just follow the tourists around, sniffing them for treats.

With a few hundred female deer living in the Park, late spring is the season highlighted with the birth of baby deer. They are kept in Roku-en deer center with their mothers until it's safe for them to join the rest of deer. Every day in June from 11 am to 2 pm, you can visit and see the fawns at the center. As mother deer usually give birth in June-July, we recommend you to go to the Nara Park in summer months to see the cute baby deer.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Nara Park to see baby deer?

The period between mid-June to mid-August is the best time to visit Nara Park if you want to see baby deer. Baby fawns are usually born in late spring and are kept along with their mothers at the Roku-en deer center to ensure their safety. You can visit the center between 11 am to 2 pm every day in June. These adorable creatures are undoubtedly something to look forward to during your visit to Nara Park. Show more

Where can we see the baby deer in Nara Park?

The best place to visit if you want to play and interact with the baby deer in Nara Park is the Roku-en deer center. Here, you can find the newborn fawns kept safely with their mothers before they are allowed to join the rest of the deer in the park. It's easy to get to the center either on foot or using the shuttle bus, which runs every 20-30 minutes from Nara Station. However, note that the center serves as a temporary home for the fawns only. Show more

How many deer roam around Nara Park?

Nara Park is home to over 1,000 deer, which are considered wild animals. Although the deer are generally calm around tourists, it's recommended not to chase or disturb them. Male deer tend to be more aggressive than the females which may pose a risk to visitors. However, the deer's presence in the park adds excitement and charm and stands as a primary attraction for many tourists and locals alike. Show more

What kind of food can we feed the deer with?

To feed the adorable deer in Nara Park, vendors sell shika senbei or special rice crackers that are suitable for their consumption. If you plan to visit the park, it's recommended to purchase these crackers from the vendors on the premises or the entrance. Any other food stuff or snacks for the deer is deemed unfit, as it can harm their health or cause complications in their digestive system. Show more

Why are deer in Nara Park considered sacred in Japan?

Deer are significant animals in Japan with special religious and cultural importance. In Nara, they are held in high regard and even dubbed as messengers of the gods. The deer are considered sacred because of their belief to have descended from the mountains to visit the city. This is why they are regarded, protected, and cherished. Celebrated for their representation of prosperity, good fortune, and long life, Nara Park is a hub of several shrines and temples dedicated to these amazing creatures. Show more

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