Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Deer and bamboos

If you are not interested in animals, I hope you will still be able to enjoy this post about our trip to Nara.
We took a train from Kyoto to spend one day in Nara. I will be honest, our main interest were the 1200 freely roaming Sika deer around the park near the main temple. The Nara park was established in 1300's and is one of the oldest parks in Japan.
"According to local folklore, deer from this area were considered sacred and people used to be sentenced to death if hurting one.
After World War II, the deer were officially stripped of their sacred/divine status, and were instead designated as national treasures and are protected as such."(Noburu Ogata. "Soramitsu, history and geography of Nara, Japan".)
The animals were already in their winter coat. And the males were getting all handsome as the mating season was probably still on. We even saw a duel of antler-less males. 
All older males have their antlers cut off as they can get rather aggressive towards each other and the people.
We didn't see any ruckus...   Only a few deer butting people, asking for the special deer crackers one can buy.

Some deer seem to politely bow for the treats.
While other feel entitled to things.

See the curled up lip? We were kidding, he is showing off how awesome he is, when actually he might be using the flehmen response (a behavior in which an animal curls back it's upper lip and inhales with the nostrils usually closed) as a mechanism for identifying the reproductive state of females.

The deer look hard, but actually their fur is very lush and soft.

A male approaches and everybody scatters. Watch out, Giedre!

I just couldn't get enough of those faces. My drawings have become alive! 
Sometimes people would get surrounded and overwhelmed by the animals. The only way to escape is to toss the crakers and run.

Tōdai-ji, the Buddhist temple originally built in the mid-700s, containing Japan's largest bronze Buddha statue.

Niō or Kongōrikishi are two wrath-filled guardians of the Buddha, standing today at the entrance of many Buddhist temples in East Asian Buddhism.

I was standing there for a moment telling myself my daughter does not need these.

We walked back from the park to the train station and Giedre spotted a poster inviting to visit the garden on top of the prefecture government building. We suspected it’s more of a local secret as the garden offers a complete 360 view over the city and we were only three people there. 
One can view the towns temples from a different angle as well as the mount Katsuragisan.
More unidentified plants...
We headed to Arashiyama and Sagano the next day. Had Taiyakia Japanese fish-shaped cake on our way from the station to the bamboo grove. I took the one with the custard filling.

We met this artist, selling his reproduced postcards. I hope Giedre will provide me with the name, as she acquired a few pieces of the artwork.
The beauty of the bamboo forest is the reason to the ever flowing river of people. Well, one mostly looks up all the time anyway.

I really wonder what this plant is . Reminds me of dischidia.
Well, this rabbit looks like it might need to go somewhere. And fast!

The little doll was actually making a rowing movement while in water.

I don't know what was being built, my guess is a four dragon boat :-)

I have more photos of the street style. Some other day maybe.
Spot the bird!
Oi river. We are on our way to the Monkey park. But later about that in the next post.

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