Nara with Deer Friends (Nara, Japan)

I’m terribly sorry for the pun, but I really couldn’t resist. Hey, it could have been worse — my alternate title choice was something along the lines of “I’m so fawned of Nara.” (Get it?!)

A few months ago (this blog post is waaay overdue), Edu and I had a chance to revisit the Kansai area, this time with a couple friends who were visiting from the US. We planned a weekend stay in Osaka, but as Nara was closeby (the train ride from Osaka to Nara was less than an hour), we couldn’t resist venturing a day trip to the historic city.

En route to Osaka via shinkansen.

Early morning view from the shinkansen to Osaka.

Nara was the capital of Japan during the 8th century, and as a testament to this, the city is home to several historic sites. However, a few of the sites were actually closed for the holidays (note: New Year’s is really not the best time to go sightseeing in Japan).

Fortunately, we had a chance to visit Tōdai-ji (Eastern Great Temple). Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temple was constructed in the early 8th century and houses an impressive bronze daibutsu, or large statue of buddha. I suppose there is such a thing as “temple fatigue.” I certainly experienced it after two days of temple-hopping in Kyoto the previous month. However, even after having seen dozens of Japanese temples, I was still left breathtaken by the sight of the magnificent Tōdai-ji.

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However, I’d be lying if I said that it was purely Nara’s cultural and historical significance that brought us there. You see, Nara is also famous for the free-roaming local deer (shika, in Japanese) that you encounter everywhere.

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In the park..

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On the street…

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I was initially quite surprised to see them roaming freely around the temple grounds as well. This makes sense: they were once considered to be messengers of the gods. Nowadays, however, they are considered to be merely national treasures, rather than straight-up divine.

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Regardless of their status, one truth remains: words cannot express how cute these guys are.

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As is true for many creatures (including some humans, I suppose), the best way to a shika’s heart is through its stomach, and so for ¥150, you can pick up some shika-senbei from various vendors throughout the area and make some new friends.

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Can you tell how delighted I am?!?

Can you tell how delighted I am?!?

They are so friendly! They even bow to you! They’re not too fond of being petted, though.

This little guy is not having any of that.

This little guy is not having any of that.

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4 thoughts on “Nara with Deer Friends (Nara, Japan)

  1. Yxes says:

    How awesomesauceballonsly perfect it was to read a punnily titled post! I could hear your Miga voice in those deer-petting photos. I’m so glad you saw them!!!!

  2. Lovely pictures and a really interesting read! I hope to visit Japan one day.. once I’ve saved up enough money!
    http://dovastonsdusseldorfdiarys.wordpress.com/

    • Eh, Bueno! says:

      Thanks, glad you liked it! Japan is such an amazing country; after living here for several months I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what there is to see!

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