If you think Cranbrook, B.C. has a deer problem, come visit Nara, Japan. Over 1,200 Sika (or, Shika) deer roam freely in Nara Park. They are classified as a national treasure. As you can see, statues are found around the city celebrating the deer, and Nara's tourism campaign is highly tied to the animals.
In Nara Park, you can purchase "deer crackers" to feed the deer, so of course that is what we did. They can be pretty tame at the best of times, but once food comes out, they can be a little aggressive and take little bites at you if you aren't giving them enough attention (or crackers, mostly!). In this slideshow, there is a picture of a warning sign, letting everyone know what the deer are capable of. We thought it was kind of funny, especially the drawings.
Just outside of Nara Park is Surusawa-Ike Pond. While we were walking by, we were lucky enough to see a Dragon Boat taking people for a ride around the pond. It was a beautiful sight.
Back inside Nara Park, besides the deer, you will also find the "five story pagoda", the second tallest pagoda in Japan. It was first built in the year 730(!), and was most recently rebuilt, in 1426. It is stunning.
After A LOT of walking, and making sure the deer were well fed, it was time to feed ourselves. We found a really nice restaurant underground at the local Art Museum. More practice with the chop sticks!
Fully refreshed, it was time to hit the "biggie"! Todajiji Temple.It is a Buddhist temple complex, that was once one of the Seven Great Temples Before you get to the Temple, you must pass through the Nandaimon (the Great South Gate). Inside the gate are two 28-foot-tall guardians.
Great Buddha Hall
It's great Buddha Hall houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha Diabutsu of Todai-ji..
And finally...just because this is my favourite photo of the Great Buddha Hall...one last picture from Nara, Japan: