At just over 500 hectares, Nara Park in Japan is 20% larger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park, and a short day trip from Kyoto for editor-in-chief Gordon Price and his group.
Best known for a 15-m tall bronze statue of Buddha housed within the largest wooden building in the world, the park is also noteworthy for its conspicuous population of Sika deer.
Also known as “bowing deer”, the Sika often bow their heads before being fed special deer cookies sold within the park. However, Sika also tend to bow heads to signal an impending head-butt. On average, someone is injured by a Sika deer every couple of days; there were 164 injuries (mostly bites) recorded in the last fiscal year. Perhaps this is its own line item in the park’s annual report.
Little Differences: At every meal, even in the most modest of restaurants, you’ll be given a plastic-wrapped sterilized serviette to wipe your hands. And to use as a napkin, especially since the paper ones, if provided at all, are tiny. (Many Japanese bring their own). Still, the quantity of waste must be immense. Then there are all the one-use wooden chopsticks. (Meanwhile, we trying to get rid of plastic straws.)