Nara, Japan and their Deers
Last Sunday was our off day in Kobe, our host decided to bring us to Nara for a half a day tour!
This is the mascot of Nara, a weird boy with deer antlers.
It was really fun and the visit was very memorable! If you have never been to Nara or heard of it, you will be shock to know that there are wild deers free roaming in the Nara Park! Read on to see for yourself on how I got attacked by the deers and ended up with two bruises on my thigh! Haha.
Nara Park is located in the central part of Nara City, this vast green area encompasses four world heritage sites of UNESCO. We visited the main one site – Todaiji Temple – which houses the statue of the Great Buddha and was founded in 8th Century.
The temple standing today was built in 1709 as the original house was burned down twice during war. Even though it was scaled down to two thirds of the original size, it is still the largest wooden structure in the world.
In Japan, you can always find lucky charms of all types sold in the temple. This temple has a wide range of lucky charm designs which I bought a few! I think it makes nice souvenirs for friends!
Other than the UNESCO sites, another charm of this park is the deers! There are approximately 1200 wild deers roaming around freely.
They are everywhere! I can so imagine my sister screaming all the way if she is there!
According to legend, when Kasuga Taisha Shrine was founded as a family shrine for the Fujiwaras (a dominant aristocrat clan in the 8th century), they invited a mighty god from Kashima Shrine who is said to have come to Nara riding on a white deer. Since then, the deers have been respected and protected as divine messengers by local people.
The deer in Nara Park eats grass, bamboo leaves and buds, however, booth selling Shika Senbei (deer crackers) is widely available in the park and these are their favourite snacks which they will fight over!
Once I approached the booth selling Shika Senbei, they started approaching me with those greedy looks. I had to walk quickly with a crowd of deer right behind me. Instead of feeding them all at once with all I had, I feed them one cracker at a time. This got me bitten twice as the impatient ones took a bite on my thigh to hurry me up! In the end, I had to run and throw the crackers in various directions just so I can distract them!
Despite being bitten by the not so tame deers twice, I enjoyed myself in Nara and had plenty of fun! Just along the street towards Todaiji Temple, there are plenty of souvenirs shops, however we shopped mainly at the other streets (which is approximately 15 minutes walk away) that has more food and souvenirs shops!