Indi­ana Jones and the Temple of Deer

Published Categorised as Japan, Nature, Photography, Popular Posts, Travel No Comments on Indi­ana Jones and the Temple of Deer

You can see more photos from other places in the Japan category of this blog, and also read about the trip in the zine I wrote.

Our final stop in Japan before flying home from Osaka was Nara. In the 700s it was the capit­al of Japan, at the time when Buddhism really became estab­lished in Japan. Nowadays as well as Buddhism, it’s known for the tame deer who live in the forest park surround­ing the temples and shrines. We stayed in a hostel in the forest. It seemed a short walk from the train station, but we ended up walk­ing along dark forest paths drag­ging cases seem­ingly forever, with deer star­ing at us accus­ingly like some­thing out of Prin­cess Mononoke. (The hostel turned out to be a pretty weird place too).


The next day we went explor­ing the forest and temples. After the dry Medi­ter­ranean climate of the Sanyo coast, Nara felt very damp and rainy, with moss grow­ing on everything. Appar­ently it’s the rain­i­est place in Japan.

I didn’t find any four-leafed ones

We went deep­er into the forest to avoid a really obnox­ious busload of tour­ists from Main­land China, who were constantly yelling, spit­ting and barging people out of the way.

I didn’t hear this. Did it happen?

These stone lanterns line a lot of the paths

There are miles and miles of these.

The deer are just as friendly as the Okun­oshi­ma rabbits, but much more alarm­ing as they are large and bitey. Luck­ily few of them had full antlers.

Here is a sign warn­ing you that they steal old ladies’ purses and push small chil­dren over, and are bad bad deer. I saw one make a little girl cry.

You can buy bags of food for them. The stalls keep them locked up in these safes.

Feed me human.

Where is our food?

Yes, contin­ue this, human

I wonder if deer will eat moss. I know reindeer eat lichen.

The forest is not short of moss.

This guy bit me and tried to wrestle a bag of food off me, and was not sorry in the slight­est.

Future biter.

This guy was very proud of his antlers.

But threw a tantrum and head-butted us when the food stopped being forth­com­ing. You always think of deer as being these eleg­ant, timid creatures, but this lot remind me more of stroppy goats and llamas at petting zoos.

The fluf­fi­est of bums.

I don’t know what this deer did, but it must have been bad.

This is my street, and I can crap in it if I want to. The cars had to stop for the deer to do its busi­ness too.


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