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Nara city, home to friendly wild deer

The ancient capital of Nara in western Japan is famous for wild deer that freely roam around a public park in the heart of the city. The free-roaming deer are even seen to cross busy streets or visit houses nearby Nara Park. According to the Nara Deer Preservation Foundation, more than 1,100 wild deer, including some 80 fawns, roamed in and around the 5 sq km park as of July 2021.

The free-roaming deer have been believed to be messengers of a god visiting the 1,250-year-old Kasuga Grand Shrine located in the park. They are protected under Japan’s cultural properties protection law. Visitors can interact with deer and feed them “deer crackers” called “shika senbei,” which are sold at JPY 200 ($1.7) in nearby shops. The snack, made from wheat and rice bran, is digestive and sugar-free. — KUNA

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