Nara Park (Nara Koen) is a large park in central Nara. Established in 1880, it is the location of many of Nara’s main attractions including Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha, Kofukuji and the Nara National Museum.
The park is also home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, Nara’s nearly 1200 deers have become a symbol of the city and have been designated a natural treasure.
The Eastern Golden Hall and 5-Story Pagoda. Kofukuji used to be the family temple of the Fujiwara, the most powerful family clan during much of the Nara and Heian Periods. The temple was established in Nara at the same time as the capital in 710. At the height of Fujiwara power, the temple consisted of over 150 buildings.
Today a couple of buildings of great historic value remain, including a five story pagoda and a three story pagoda. At 50 meters, the five story pagoda is Japan’s second tallest, just seven meters shorter than the five story pagoda at Kyoto’s Toji Temple.
Even though these deers are surprisingly tame and they do look cute and innocent, they can be aggressive if they think you will feed them. So we did not dare to feed any in case they come chasing after us! 😛