Established in 1880, Nara Park is home to one of the city’s premier attractions, a large herd of semi-wild deer. Over the centuries, the deer have learned to bow to visitors to ask to be fed with the crackers that can be purchased around the park. The origin of these deer lies in the connection with the god Takemi Kajichi no Mikoto, enshrined at the adjacent Kasuga Shrine. This spirit, the patron of the Fujiwara (the most powerful aristocratic clan during much of the Nara and Heian Periods), is said to have first arrived in Nara upon a supernatural white deer. Because of this legend, deer were considered sacred messengers – and even into the twentieth century, killing a deer in Nara was punishable by death. The park is a five-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, or about a 20-minute walk from JR Nara Station, and borders a number of Nara’s most important attractions, including Todai-ji, Kofuku-ji and the Nara National Museum.