Travel: Temple and Reindeer in Japan

Before my first visit to Japan, I knew that deer were an attraction. I expected a deer reserve where tourists could view happy deer from afar, but I was pleasantly surprised to find cute reindeer roaming about (unlike petting zoos, where you meet nothing but ugly goats.)

Visiting Todaiji

Have you ever seen a reindeer up close? Have you seen one welcome you with a bow?

I got to see just that on my visit to Todaiji (Eastern Great Temple), one of the many Buddist Temples in Nara, Japan. Even on a cold, winter weekday, the tourist sites were moderately crowded.

Roaming Reindeer

Deer, considered messengers of the Shinto gods, roam freely around the area and create quite a picturesque scene. The temple is not a deer reserve.

The deer/reindeer are used to people and will generally allow you to get close.

Some deer have even learned to bow when you bow down first. Of course, offering deer biscuits from one of the nearby carts helps to motivate them. Be careful though, because they may swarm or nip at you until you run out of deer treats.

World’s largest…

The Great Buddha Hall holds the Daibutsu, the largest Buddha statue in the world. The immense statue stands at a reported 49.1 feet!

Just to get an idea of the size, there is a pillar with a large cutout, said to be the size of the statue’s nostril.

* * *


–Marilyn, writer

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Photo credit: Marilyn (shot of me taken by Fernando)

**What do you think of letting deer roam among people? Cool…scary…exciting? What is one place you would visit if you went to Japan? Would you go to Japan just to play with the deer? 😉


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