Bambi has gone a bit wild in nearby Otsu, Shiga Prefecture.
At one of western Japan's best-known temples, Ishiyama Temple, deer have munched over 1000 hydrangea plants. Those flowers are associated with the rainy season in Japan, and a major draw for visitors to the temple.
The deer also feasted on iris and bush clover.
Damage from deer became pronounced about ten years ago. As the temple is close to the mountains that separate Kyoto and Shiga, deer are frequent visitors. Moreover, because of human-induced changes in the eco-system - post-war Japan tore out much of its deciduous forests and planted more lucrative (at the time) stands of cedar - the deer have little to eat in the forests. Thus, they and monkeys and boar are coming farther and farther into suburban and urban areas in search of food.
Hunting is banned in the area around the temple, and Buddhists are of course prohibited from the taking of life. Thus, the monks are in a quandary.
Nets have been placed around the temple, but they have not deterred the deer.
Ishiyama Temple is not far from the Lake Biwa route and close enough to Kyoto to visit on a day-trip.
Tags Japan Touring Kyoto Cycle Japanese