In the Shinto religion, deer are considered sacred messengers of gods - that’s why, in a few places in Japan, we can encounter wild deer roaming freely in urban areas.
The species of deer living on the Miyajima Island are called Nihonjika - “Japanese deer” and it is known that deer lived here since the ancient times, the first historical document attesting to their presence going back to 800 years ago. It is estimated that there are about 500 Nihonjika on the island, most of them living in the forest, but several groups are accustomed to human activity, living in the city, like the deer from Nara.
I noticed that compared to the ones from Nara, the deer from Miyajima are less “pushy” and I think the reason for this has to do with the human behaviour: unlike in Nara, where the visitors are feeding them with especially made deer-crackers, in Miyajima it is forbidden to feed the deer…
Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: The Shrine over the Sea