Nara deer
Photo: Erin Song/Unsplash

The friendly deer in Nara have moved into the city looking for food

With no tourists to feed them, the hungry deer have left Nara Park and gone in search of food in the city

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Even before Japan declared a nationwide state of emergency on April 16, the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has kept most tourists away. Flights and bullet trains have been cut back substantially and even within the country, domestic tourism has plummeted, too, leaving hotspots like Kyoto completely empty. Many businesses have been struggling to stay open, but humans aren’t the only ones who are forced to adapt during the crisis.

It seems the deer at Nara are just as reliant on tourists as some local businesses. The famously polite bowing deer that live in Nara Park have become accustomed to eating the special crackers which tourists purchase at the park to feed them. With no tourists coming in, grass is the only source of food around, so groups of deer have left the park and started venturing into the concrete jungle in search of food.

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Many deer have been seen crossing big roads in herds, while some are roaming around the backstreets looking for potted plants to munch on.

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Others, perhaps recognising where those delicious crackers come from, have even tried their luck at some local shops.

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