For those in up-beat Osaka enjoying the fruits of Japan's foodie capital but hankering after temples, teahouses and greenery, a quick trip to Nara will provide your natural fix.
Head straight to Nara Park for the city's best selection of temples and shrines, as well as the chance to get up close and personal with Nara's famous Sika deer.
Largely made up by the grounds of Kasuga Taisha Shrine, the ancient diety Takemi Kajichi no Mikoto was fabled to have ridden to Nara Park on a sacred deer. Because of this, the deer in Nara are considered sacred animals and remain carefully protected.
Despite being known for eating Nara's famous 'shika senbei' – deer crackers – the Sika deer here are wild, and mostly feed on silver pampass grass as well as other varieties of land grass. This diet of grass also sets the deer of Nara apart from others in Japan, meaning the park is well worth a visit for this truly unique encounter with the natural world.
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