Deer have been present on the Japanese archipelago since before man appeared. They are often mentioned in the Man-yo-syu Poems, the oldest Japanese anthology which was compiled in the middle of the 8th century. (Nara period)
No matter where you walk in Nara Park (1650 acres), you will encounter the famous Nara deer. Throughout the park, you will see many groups of deer walking freely, and eating grass.
Nara deer have co-existed with people in Nara City for over 1,000 years, and become a symbol of the city. There are also designated as a "Nature Treasure" by the government, and attract local residents and visiting tourists from all around the world. Today, there are about 12,00 deer walking freely in Nara Park.
They are considered divine animal s and have been protected as the messengers of the Kasuga Grand Shrine since the ancient times when the shrine was founded in the 8th century during the Nara period.
(NARA / A Historica Walking Guide）