A few days ago we visited Nara, an old city, which in 8th century was the capital of Japan. The pictures show our visit to the famous Todaiji Temple. This is a Buddhist temple erected in the 8th century, best known for two things – that it is the world’s largest wooden building and for its giant statue of Buddha. The temple complex occupies a large territory and includes a monastery.
However, the most interesting part of the temple complex is the deer that live there. According to the traditional Japanese beliefs, the deer are messengers of the gods (I guess that is similar to the status of the cow in India). They are allowed to roam free in what is known as a deer park, but actually you can see them in many other parts of the city.
They are quite friendly and curious animals, which are not afraid to approach people and enjoy attention. Another reason for their curiosity is food – they beg shamelessly for it and follow anybody, who could give it to them. Street vendors (mostly old women) sell packs of large rice crackers, which the deer love, for 150 yen (about $1.50). Once you buy a pack, you are almost instantly surrounded by a large group of deer and each one wants a piece. After the pack is eaten, they don’t leave immediately – some try to chew your coat or scarf or even break your plastic bag looking for food. The most impatient of them (especially males) start to bump you lightly with their heads.
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