Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design

2/07/2014

Where deer roam free

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

If you're a Bambi fan, then get thee to Nara, Japan. Just an hour's train ride away from Kyoto, Nara allows deer to roam free.

Deer crossing. Photo by: Carren Jao. 
Nara was on my list of places to go in Japan because where else can you see such a sight? The most I've seen of deer are glimpses of its antlers as it flees the hilltop scene, or those deer signs on the road.

In Nara, the deer are almost like pets. They approach any stranger looking for some food to eat. The locals tend to play with them and purchase biscuits from nearby vendors to entice them closer. Curiously, children and women seem a little frightened of the deer. Though they hold biscuits in their hands, the moment the deer steps close, many shriek (in delight?) and run away.

Showing the deer some respect. Photo by: Carren Jao.
Those with biscuits get all the attention. Photo by: Carren Jao. 
Selling deer food. Interestingly, the deer didn't harass the owner, but waited until someone bought biscuits and then approached the buyer instead. Photo by: Carren Jao. 
I confess to the same instincts as I neared one. I didn't have a biscuit in hand, which made me less of a target, but still, nearby signs told me deer can head butt or kick me at a moment's notice. Still, it's nice to be so close to the wildlife.

Curious deer inspecting the little boy's backpack. Photo by: Carren Jao. 
Nice smile you got there. Photo by: Carren Jao. 
Deer can bite, kick, butt, or knock you down. Beware. Photo by: Carren Jao. 

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