Hungry deer near Kyoto


(In July, I went on a family vacation to Japan. Here are my posts about the trip: The Ghibli Museum | Watermelons in the shape of cubes, hearts, and pyramids | What happened to the Burgie Beer UFO of Melrose Avenue? | Shopping in Harajuku | A visit to Iwatayama Monkey Park in Kyoto Japan.)

As soon as you buy a stack of round crackers from one of the vendors at Nara Park, the deer descend on you. I barely had a chance to sample the cracker (pretty tasty!) because I was instantly surrounded by hungry deer, ominously nudging me with their antlers to feed them.

The city of Nara is a short train ride from Kyoto, and it's famous for its large
park populated by 1,200 semi-wild deer, and also for Tōdai-ji, a Buddhist temple that has the largest wooden building on Earth and contains a 50-foot bronze statue of Buddha.

More photos and remarks after the jump.

The manhole covers are beautiful pieces of art depicting deer in the park. I noticed lots of attractive manhole covers everywhere I went in Japan.


Now, it was probably a mistake to show this video to my wife before we left on our family vacation to Japan. I had to spend quite a bit of time assuring her that our kids wouldn't be attacked by an enraged doe. Then she saw this sign at the park, and she got nervous all over again. Fortunately, the deer were gentle and no one got hurt.


The deer keep a sharp eye for people buying crackers from the vendors. I wonder why they don't bother the vendors? Maybe the vendors swatted them on the nose to train them to keep their distance.


The deer like to eat and walk toward you at the same time, causing you to back up as you feed them crackers, which they gobble with surprising speed.


The deer congregate around anyone with a cracker, just like pigeons flock to people with breadcrumbs.


Once you are out of crackers, they don't want anything to do with you.


This squat fellow was hoping that my camera was a cracker.


Leaves are a poor substitute for crackers, but they will nibble on them if offered.


They don't mind being pet. They don't seem to enjoy it, either, at least not as much as this tapir at the LA Zoo did.


This one kept his mouth open, ready for a treat.


At the far end of the park we saw Tōdai-ji, a Buddhist temple with the largest wooden building in the world. Inside, sits the largest bronze Buddha.


This Art Nouveau vase caught my attention because the butterflies had cartoony faces.



The bronze Budhha. Here it looks to be about two feet tall, but it's actually 50 feet tall.


The large wooden guardians ridiculously, mind bogglingly, almost horrifyingly large wooden guardians (much like everything else at the Tōdai-ji Temple) looked like they were alive and ready to pounce. (Thanks, bfarn!)




I don't know what this is, but it reminded me of a Balinese deity, like this one.


The hole in this column is the same size as Buddha's nostril. If you are able to crawl through it you will achieve enlightenment in your next life. Jane was the only one who made it. My other family members and I have some work to do.


This statue sits outside the building. Visitors with ailments rub the body part of the statue corresponding with the part of their body that needs fixing.


It reminds me of the insane laughing animatronic lady above the door to the fun house at Lakeside Amusement Park in Denver. I wish I had a picture to compare the two.