Tourists flock to the Nara district of Japan’s largest island of Honshu for its ancient monuments and temples, but they also enjoy close encounters with some of its wildlife in the capital city.

Nara Park is home to one of the world’s largest statues of Buddha but the grounds of this religious sanctuary are filled with 1,200 sika deer which have come here from their traditional forest home.

The deer once held sacred status thanks to a local legend telling how a god once visited the area riding on a deer. The tame “Nara deer” are still protected today and many people continue to regard them as special.

Visitors can buy deer crackers to feed the deer and both animals and humans can be seen bowing to each other, a symbol of respect in Japan. 

Find out more about the island of Honshu in the first episode of Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands on Monday 8th June at 21:00 BST on BBC Two.

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