Meeting the Deer of Nara
As we approached Nara Park, we came across vendors selling stacks of rice crackers for a meager 150-yen. A necessary purchase when visiting Nara, it’s the best way you’ll ever spend a pocketful of spare change.
Tentatively walking towards my chosen deer, I offered the delicate, round rice cracker, dangling it between my thumb and forefinger. As soon as it was offered it snatched from my hand – the deer hastily chomping the cracker with the type of unapologetic enthusiasm I reserve for choc chip cookies.
Suddenly, we were surrounded. A mob of deer encircled us, ready for breakfast. If they weren’t so Disney-levels adorable, I would’ve been terrified. We giggled at their unabashed eagerness as they stuck their noses into our pockets and once it was confirmed our pockets and hands were empty, they dispersed.
The Nara deer freely roam the streets with the assured authority of divine creatures. Once considered messengers of Shinto gods, it’s a funny juxtaposition seeing these woodland animals ambling beside throngs of tourists with their bum bags and selfie sticks. If you’re ever in Japan, don’t miss the chance to see these beautiful creatures.