The Japanese city of Nara is renown for its deer. Thanks to their legendary history, they’re regarded as heavenly animals, messengers of the gods according to Shinto belief, and guardians of both the city and Japan itself. A population of over 1000 remarkably tame Sika Deer reside in Nara Park, where they roam freely and visitors may feed them special biscuits, and every summer they do something strange and awesome. They leave the park and swarm the streets, lounging together on the sidewalks and sometimes right in the road, looking like they haven’t got a care in the world and the middle of the road is the perfect place to be.
“…with the deer strolling out of the park to “enjoy the coolness of the street.” Given that the concrete sidewalk and asphalt road surface would ordinarily retain heat during the summertime, we’re guessing that the surrounding cityscape and topography creates either a cooling wind tunnel or an inviting patch of shade.
Although it might seem like an alarming event, Nara residents seem very used to the presence of the deer. It’s been happening for so long now that the city posts warning signs to drivers about deer crossing the road. No one honks at them or suddenly swerves to avoid them. We’d be so amazed by the sight of them that people would be honking at us for blocking traffic ourselves.
Take care though, they are absolute menaces! They come up and eat your maps and guidebooks if you’re not careful.