Nara Park for those who do not know is in Japan within the city of Nara. It is a very large park and one that many consider extremely beautiful for a number of reasons.
This amazing park is home to over 1000 sacred deer and according to CNN is only a 45-minute train ride south of Kyoto. The deer who live here are free-roaming animals who are loved by all. They are often fed by tourists and while you should be cautious while feeding them many people visit this location just to see the deer and experience them up close.
In recent times though not as many people have been around to visit these deer considering the state our world is in with the pandemic, this leaving the deer to relax a bit more than usual and it seems they’re doing-so as cherry blossoms are full bloom. Things in the area are much quieter than usual and these deer are just ‘chilling.’ As you can see in the video below, they are relaxed and really adding to the atmosphere of the beautiful location as a whole.
These beautiful animals are considered to be a ‘national treasure’ and honestly, I could see why. They are beautiful in every sense of the word. While the cherry blossoms really are gorgeous the deer make this scene like something you’d read about in a fairytale, don’t you agree?
— キキフォトワークス (@KikiPhotoWorks) May 11, 2020
CNN wrote as follows in regard to some of the history about this location itself:
Established in 1880, Nara Park is one of the oldest parks in Japan. In addition to the famous deer, the park is home to Kofokuji, the family temple of the most powerful clan at the height of Nara’s influence.
Todaiji Temple, the world’s largest wooden structure and a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located on the park grounds. So too is the National Treasure Museum, noted for its collection of Buddhist art.
Japan’s second-tallest five-storied pagoda, which was originally built over a thousand years ago, is also here — but there’s little question that the deer are the main draw.
Nara’s deer have historically been on friendly terms with humans in the area.
In 1177, Kujo Kanezane, a nobleman visiting the area with his family, encountered a herd of deer with his traveling party. Upon seeing the deer approach, a young boy got out of his carriage and bowed to them.
Then in 1189, Kanezane, the head of the Fujiware clan, was surveying the rebuilding of the temple on the site when a deer appeared inside the main hall. In his journal he wrote, “I was momentarily bewildered, then joined my hands and bowed to the deer.” From then the deer were considered a lucky signal.
By the 1500s, thousands of deer roamed the city unchecked and revered. In this era, hunting the deer was punishable by death. Anyone who violated this decree had their property confiscated and their lineage cut off.
While this sentence hasn’t been officially carried out since 1637, penalties remain. In 2010 a 40-year-old man was sentenced to 10 months in prison for killing a deer in the park with a crossbow.
These interesting creatures are truly something else. While we cannot visit them in person right now, seeing them like this is heartwarming in a lot of ways. Personally, I’d love to give them deer crackers and smell the cherry blossoms more than anything right now.