So, the second we walked on the island, Aly immediately pointed out these people feeding a deer. Apparently, the deer are considered to be sacred in the Shinto region as they are believed to be messengers from the gods. There are also monkeys that roam free in the mountains but I didn’t see any of those.
For a long time, tourists could buy pellets and other food items but there was a recent ban on feeding the deer so their numbers are actually dwindling. This is why the remaining deer are a bit more bolder and are getting so close to people to try to get food. Their antlers have been removed so that they can’t gore tourists but it does mean that they are reliant on tourists to provide food as they’ve become tame.
This close. I was able to get this close to the deer. It’s pretty weird. I touched the deer on the nose because I wanted to touch it but the idea of touching a wild animal seemed stupid….so I only touched his nose.
I found the perfect magnet at this one place. Alex saw this deer across the way and stopped at this bench to watch the deer for a few minutes. I even snuck up behind the deer and took a picture of Alex and Aly watching the deer who had not moved a single inch with me moving around it.
When we walked up to Daisho-in, a deer followed us up the path and proceeded to growl/hiss at us. We kept on walking, keeping a close eye on the deer but when we stopped to eat a snack, it came a bit too close for comfort…somehow sneaking up behind us. Later, Aly decided to take a typical Asian (peace sign) selfie with a tame Miyajima deer.