Located in Kansai, near Osaka and Kyoto, Nara City has always been tourist’s favorite, every year it attracts 13 million tourist, and it is one of the major attractions in Japan!
Speaking of must-dos in Nara, besides visiting the famous Kasuga Shrine and the world-heritage 1200 years old Todaiji Temple, we mustn’t miss out everyone’s favorite – Nara Kojika!
According to official reports, there are 1200 deers in Nara. Hence, if you are visiting Nara, less than 5 minutes away from the train station, you will be able to spot the first deer in Nara. Deers are also a symbol of God in Nara! Even though it’s been many years, the deer’s should have gotten used to tourist, but they are still wild animals, let’s take some precautions and feed them the right way in order to avoid any unwanted accidents!
1. Leave the objects in your hand in the bag
Nara Kojika is used to taking food from tourist; hence they are very interested with the objects in the tourist’s hands. It is best to keep your train ticket, maps and ID in a zip-locked bag. If your bag is not zipped, the smart Nara Kojika will try and dig into your bag!
2. Feed them in an open space, if you are surrounded by many deers, remember to carry your deer crackers in the air.
It is recommended to feed the Nara Kojika in Nara Park or a relatively open space. Due to the high number of tourist, and the roads being narrow, you might be surrounded by many deers. During situations like this, aggressive male deers would snatch away the whole pack of crackers (you can find it everywhere in Nara, it is made especially for the deers)! You can feed those which laze around in the park as they are not as aggressive, they are easier to take pictures with.
3. When surrounded by deers, throw away the deer crackers in your hand
If you are surrounded by many deers, it is best to throw out the deer cracker in your hand. Don’t expect the people or the hawkers around you to save you. If you take too long, the deers might bite your pants or use their antlers to pick up your skirt!
4. Show your hands after finish feeding
Sometimes the deers may not leave even if you are running out of crackers. When you show your empty hand, this indicates to them that you have no more food for them and they will move away slowly.
5. Keep a distance from the mother and baby deers
Even though the baby deers and their mothers may seem very cute, but it is best to keep a distance from them! The mother deers are much more sensitive to human movement because they are protecting their own child. Do not over react during feeding time and try to stay calm to avoid scaring the baby deer.
Lastly! Some infamous techniques!
If you have the chance to feed a baby deer, try and bow to them before feeding them. Some baby deers which are very polite might return a bow to you! Take this opportunity to capture some interesting videos and pictures, give it a try~
Lastly, deers are animals too; they are the Nara people’s favorite animal. Please do not feed them anything other than deer crackers. And do not be rude to the male deer. Every October, the Nara people would give the aggressive male deers antler removing surgery. Hope that these tips can give you a happy feeding time with the Nara Kojika!