Rains in Japan’s Nara City bring deer and human beings together. This week, a heartwarming video that went viral on Twitter shows a herd of deer seeking shelter from the rain under a building.
The herd seems unfazed by several people standing next to them, waiting for the downpour to end.
One girl even sits next to the deer and appears to be taking a photo with them.
The video posted on Twitter by tweep @TansuYegen has over 34 million views so far.
Japan’s city of Nara, is known for its thriving population of wild deer – the Sika deer – that freely roam its renowned public park called the Nara Park.
Many who have visited Nara Park took to the comments section to appreciate the video and the city of Nara.
Tweep @RaymondAtWork wrote: “Nara is indeed an amazing place, love it.”
And, @gloriagreco003 commented: “Even the deer know how to gather nicely in Japan...”
Nara’s deer are considered a national treasure and protected by law. The people of Nara are also very considerate of the animals.
According to a Nara Park travel guide website narashikanko.or.jp, ancient Japanese legends say that a deity, Takemi Kajichi no Mikoto, used a sacred deer to ride to Nara. Deer were thought of as sacred animals and have been carefully protected for many years.
Visitors of the Nara Park can only feed the deer with ‘Nara deer crackers’ called Shika-senbai.
These treats are made with wheat flour and rice bran without any sugar for the health of the deer. These deer crackers are a registered trademark of the Foundation for the Protection of Deer in Nara, and a portion of their profits goes to efforts to protect the deer.
Sadly, in 2019, Nara made headlines when many deer were reported to have been killed by plastic bags.
A Nara Deer Preservation Foundation representative told Kyodo News Agency that tourists often discard food wrappers and plastic bags on the island. The deer then smell the bags, think they are food, and then eat them.
Fed up, a group of locals came up with a solution: a paper bag made with rice bran that the deer can digest, news website bbc.com reported in 2020.
Nara resident, Takashi Nakamura, who runs a paper company in the city told BBC Japan that he, along with two locals, a cosmetic wholesaler and a designer, worked together to come up with a deer-friendly bag.
The paper bags were made out of recycled milk cartons and rice bran. They were then sold to local companies, shops, the city's tourism bureau, a local bank, and local pharmacies.