A Kyoto excursion is not complete without a side trip to Nara Park, only one hour south from Kyoto Station on the JR Nara line. Walk 15 minutes East from Nara Station and you’ll encounter hundreds of free roaming deer. The Shinto gods are said to view these graceful creatures as emissaries and mascots for the city of Nara; their silhouettes emblazoned on socks, flags and chopsticks, all displayed for sale along Sanjo Street. The deer are generally tame, but watch the males, as they can be a bit more aggressive when flashing a deer cracker (Shika-senbei) in their face. If you allow them, they will eat out of your hands and follow you from one end of the park to the other for that next delectable bite. Animal lovers will gush over this unique experience, history buffs will marvel at the Kofuku Temple and the surrounding ancient grounds.
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