Nara: Deer in Nara Park receive seasonal antler trimming

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A man wearing traditional Shinto priest clothes, left, trims the antler of a deer in Nara City on Saturday.

NARA — Deer are having their antlers trimmed at an annual event in Nara this long weekend.

Deer can get more aggressive as they go through their estrus cycle between autumn and winter, so Rokuen, a facility that protects deer in Nara Park, cuts the antlers every autumn to prevent the animals from injuring others. It is a ritual that has been going on for hundreds of years.

On the first day of the three-day event, about 1,500 spectators cheered as men in traditional happi coats captured deer with a lasso. A man wearing traditional Shinto priest clothes and eboshi cap used a saw to trim antlers that were about 50 centimeters long. The trimmed parts were then laid down on a straw mat.

“The way the deer run and jump around looked so powerful,” said a 66-year-old man from Osaka.