When I arrived in Nara I came originally to see the famous shrines and the Giant Buddha.
But once I arrived, the lady at the tourist information was very excited to inform me that there was an antler cutting ceremony going on in Nara park, which is where I was heading to anyway.
Antler cutting ceremony? Never heard of such a thing, so of course I had to go check it out.
And I have to say it turned out to be another one of those weird and wonderful things that make Japan so worth visiting.
Nara is close to Osaka, so while I was staying there, I went on a day trip to the famous shrines and temples of Nara. Just like Miyajima island there are tons of deer roaming around! Except that the Nara deer are very dangerous.
Check out what these evil beasts can do to little girls and old ladies with a walking stick! Simply shocking behaviour.
The braver tourists (and men without walking sticks and little boys) can buy deer biscuits at stalls dotted all around Nara park. I like the name of this franchise.
The deer wait patiently next to these vendors and once a tourist has paid, they accost the poor person to get to the biscuits. Basically, most people who buy the biscuits have to start running straight away if they don’t want half a dozen deer tugging at their clothes, biting their bags, bums and what not. It’s very funny to watch.
Miyajima island is only half an hour away from Hiroshima and a much more cheery place. It has the famous shrine gate in the sea which you might have seen in pictures of Japan. According to the Lonely Planet this is one of the top three views of Japan. I’m not sure what the other two views are but this view is pretty amazing indeed.
In addition to the attraction of the shrine gate, the island also has a lot of deer roaming freely. They’re not shy at all and come up to tourists quite a lot in search for food. It’s exciting and fun to be so close to them, until they surprise you while you’re watching the sunset and suddenly a deer has its head in your handbag.