Nara is a must visit for fans of Japanese history, Buddhist temples and.. Deer. Not just any ordinary deer but deer designated as “National Treasures”, all 1200+ of them. Up to the mid 1600’s killing one of them was a crime punishable by death as before World War II they were considered divine and sacred creatures as an ancient Shinto deity is said to have arrived atop one. They are all over Nara park and surrounding areas fattened by treats from awestruck tourists, I soon realized that there was a sneaky dark side to the outwardly cute Shika of Nara.
Beware of the cute spell
I learned that anything made of paper, or looks like it’s made of paper or edible you should keep away from them, that includes bus tickets, tourism pamplets, money and small infants etc….ooh wait, scratch the small infants part, but you do get my point? I watched as the deer charmed their unsuspected victims and made off with anything they could nab but hey they were cute and that is a awesome weapon to use against the Japanese. I even have video evidence embedded below!
When my rail pass went missing I first suspected that one of the deer had outsmarted me and chomped down on in but luckily it was found and I didn’t have to launch a revenge campaign and risk Jamaica – Japan relations. I grew to appreciate and maybe even got connected to the deer of Nara. There is definitely a natural mysticism to them that eventually drowned out my carnivorous thoughts about extra spicy curried deer meat. By the end of an exhausting but adventurous day in Nara I now firmly believe that after kittens, puppies, polar bear cubs and Ostrich chicks, 5th place in the baby animal cuteness awards definitely goes to fawns.
Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara
Nara is usually overshadowed by it’s more illustrious neighbour; Kyoto, but is worth a day trip to see the collectively named Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. More on my visits to TÅdai-ji, and KÅfuku-ji in future posts but for now I leave you with more pictures of what else?… deer.