The best places to go are always free.
At least that's been my experience since I began traveling in 2008 and Nara Park was no exception to this rule.
Just a short train ride from Kyoto will take you to Nara which is possibly place I've encountered in Japan (which in itself speaks volumes). Here at Nara you will find deer roaming freely around a massive park.
When you arrive you will have a 2.5km walk to the deer park, beginning at Nara Plaza. Along the way you will encounter restaurants, souvenir shops and even an Owl Cafe (will blog about this next :)).
Once you've arrived at the park you can look for this guy, the local deer biscuit salesman. Be warned, the deer LOVE these biscuits. They will bite you, head butt you and kick you depending on their mood and how much they want a biscuit. As seen here they will ambush you at the biscuit salesman, until he pulls out his fly swat and swats them away.
There are over 1200 Wild "Sika" deer in this park. They are everywhere and reminded me a lot of farming mobs in Lineage 2, an MMORPG I used to play.
The deer aren't the only reason to come to the park, it's actually quite stunning on its own. The camera doesn't really capture the mood, but imagine a darkening forest at dusk with a low lying fog in the middle of Autumn, littered with lakes and hundreds of years old shrines.
If you show your biscuits to the deer (a dangerous thing to do if the deer has antlers) then they will come over to you. It's better to stick with the little ones to be honest because some of them really are quite aggressive.
Did I say aggressive? Not all of them. Some are extremely cute and they will use this skill to get your biscuits.
A deer guarding the bridge. We had to give it a biscuit to get past. Shameless Instagram filter on this one.
Around the park there are many temples for worship. They really set the mood in some places.
The deer in this park were once considered sacred by one of the four gods of "Kasuga Shrine" and killing them would get you the death penalty.
Some more structures from the park.
The deer like to scratch themselves on the shrines.
And some more photos to wrap up this post :)
Thus was the end of my favourite day so far in Japan. If I were to go back I would probably try and camp in the park, as I saw a campsite on Google maps. That would be an amazing experience, was disappointed that I hadn't known of it earlier. You can find this campsite here if you are interested.