One of the oldest public gardens in Japan, famous for its temples and free roaming Sika Deer, Nara Park,established in 1880, located in the city of Nara, at the foot of Mount Wakakusa, Nara Park is one of the ‘Places of Scenic Beauty’, as designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).
Nara Park is home to over 1,200 wild sika deer who roam freely around
the 502 hectares (1,240 acres) grounds. The gentle creatures usually share the park with crowds of tourists, but since the COVID-19 lockdown, the deer have been enjoying the quiet time. Free roaming Sika deer in the park are classified as natural treasures and also under designation of MEXT.
March to Mid-May is generally considered the best time to visit the
flower-abundant country of Japan. The arrival of spring signifies the season of
life and color across many places in the world, but it’s especially beautiful in Japan.
The country is dotted with countless flower gardens, parks, boulevards, and even along the streets, fully-flowered trees come alive with brilliance and fragrance during spring.
Sika deer from the area were considered sacred after, according to local folklore, a visit from Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto, one of the four gods of Kasuga Shrine, who appeared on Mount Wakakusa riding a white deer. Killing one of these sacred deer was a capital offense punishable by death until 1637.
The deer where officially stripped from their sacred status after World War II, and designated as national treasures and are protected as such. Visitors to the park can buy specially made ‘deer crackers’ to feed the deer in the park, which they do in large numbers.
So Japanese photographer Kazuki Ikeda recently went there for a pre-wedding photoshoot. And while the couple were the focus of the shots, he also had time to capture a group of deer on video, and it looks like something from a fairytale. Visiting Nara Park is an unforgettable experience all year round, but it’s especially magical during cherry blossom season.
Nara Park covers 660 acres and visitors flock to the park, not only for the deer but also for the historic temples, and in April, particularly for its beautiful cherry blossoms, which, with over 1700 cherry trees in the park, is quite a sight to behold and a particular favorite spot for photographs.
Nara Park is not the only place recuperating in this pandemic. Footage from all around the world has shown the damaging effect of human activity and pollution in many places, and while the circumstances are too grim and unfortunate, the environment might just be taking the chance to heal. It’s easier on the mind knowing that we are not going through these hard times all for nothing.
For the first time in ages, the waterways in Venice, Italy were clearer due to lower traffic. For the first time in 30 years, people in parts of India can see the stunning peaks of the Himalayas. Photos from around the world show incredible drops in air and land pollution as more people stay indoors and fewer industries emit greenhouse gases . Wildlife has taken over the Yosemite National park in California in the absence of visitors, and shocking photos from South Africa show a pride of lions at the Kruger National Park napping without a care in the world on an empty road.
This pandemic is one of the saddest realities we’ve had to face in decades, but a silver lining to hold onto is a cleaner environment and a less-damaged planet.
Japanese photographer, Kazuki Ikeda, shared video footage of the Sika deer enjoying the peace and beauty of the cherry trees in bloom on social media and people all over the world absolutely loved it.