Holo with Deers of Nara
Meet Holo’s new group of friends. After our visit to Todai-ji Temple doing Project Holo, we headed out to the Park to connect more with nature this time around. It was an excellent place to take pictures (even outside the temple) because of the beautifully maintained gardens and the abundance of natural light but most of all the many deers that surrounded the place.
According to local folklore, deers from this area are considered sacred due to a visit from one of the four gods of Kasuga Shrine, Takenomikazuchi-no-mikoto. He was said to have been invited from Kashima, Ibaraki, and appeared on Mt. Mikasa-yama riding a white deer. From that point, the deer are considered divine and sacred by both Kasuga Shrine and Kōfuku-ji. Killing one of these sacred deer was a capital offense punishable by death up until 1637, the last recorded date of that law having been enforced. However during Post World War II the deers were officially stripped of their sacred/divine status, and were instead designated as National Treasures and are protected as such… Just what a pleasant sight seeing all these deers roaming around. They are quite tame and you can pat them too and one thing for sure is that they sure love their crackers! Visitors can purchase so called megadeer-crackers (鹿煎餅 Shika-senbei) to feed the deers in the park. We hoped for a photoshoot with Holo and as many deers, At first it it was quite a challenge to get the attention of many deers but fortunately the numbers grew the more we shared the crackers. In the end we had more than 15 deers around Holo and us which I named some of them after Santa’s deers: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. We had so much fun taking photos and feeding them. They sometimes even bow their heads to get crackers! One of the highlights for me was definitely the time when I ran out of crackers and while trying to find some more I had this adorable baby deer come up to Holo and I in curiosity. We later named it Bambi!
It was a great day out in the park, loved the close encounter with the deers which makes Nara definitely unique. I hope you enjoyed this different approach of Project Holo. Ill end today with a quote from Kujo Kanezane – “On our way to the shrine, many deers appeared in the morning darkness. This is a sign from the gods and a good omen. People say that when one encounters deer, he or she should get out of the carriage and bow to them.”
Till next time as we head across to today’s bustling capital of Japan, Tokyo!
Nara Park (奈良公園 Nara Kōen) is a public park located in the city of Nara, Japan, at the foot of Mount Wakakusa, established in 1880. Administratively, the park is under the control of Nara Prefecture. The park is one of the “Places of Scenic Beauty” designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The over 1,200 wild sika deer (シカ or 鹿 shika) freely roaming around in the park is also under designation of MEXT, classified as a “Natural Monument.” While the official size of the park is about 502 ha, the area including the grounds of Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji and Kasuga Shrine, which are either on the edge or surrounded by Nara Park, is as large as 660 hectares.
Fabrice is a blogger, full time university student, web enthusiast and founder of Fateful Encounters.. This blog is his final haven when everything seems nuisances; urging him to assess and to share his thoughts and his own findings to the world, or at least to his fellow neighbors in the blog sphere.