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Nara Park

is a public park located in the city of Nara, Japan, at the foot of Mount Wakakusa, established in 1300s and one of the oldest parks in Japan. Administratively, the park is under the control of Nara Prefecture. The park is one of the "Places of Scenic Beauty" designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Over 1,200 wild sika deer ( or shika) freely roaming around in the park are also under designation of MEXT, classified as natural treasure. While the official size of the park is about 502 ha, the area including the grounds of Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, and Kasuga Shrine, which are either on the edge or surrounded by Nara Park, is as large as 660 ha.

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A short video of Nara Park, featuring some of its many deer, during a particularly snowy Japanese Winter.

Contributed by Sean Gay

Another video of the aforementioned bowing phenomena of the deer of Nara Park.

Contributed by Sean Gay

Due to their interactions with humans, a large number of the deer living in, and around Nara Park have learned an interesting way to get food, and attention: bowing. Nobody knows when the deer first began doing this, but humans have been training these deer without knowing it. When they bow, they are fed, and people want to feed them more. The more they are fed from bowing, the more it is reinforced that this will get them food, and the more they will do it, and other deer will pick up on it.

Contributed by Sean Gay

Nara Park is home to a large number of sika deer, some of which can be seen in this video along the road near the park. Once considered to be divine, the deer now have a protected status as national treasures. They are tame, and very accustomed to humans, often eating their special deer crackers straight from the hands of visitors. Those deer crackers can be purchased for as little as 100 Yen, just slightly more than 1 U.S. dollar, or 3/4 Euro.

Contributed by Sean Gay

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