March to Mid-May is generally considered the best time to visit the flower-abundant country of Japan. The arrival of spring signifies the season of life and color across many places in the world, but it’s especially beautiful in Japan. The country is dotted with countless flower gardens, parks, boulevards, and even along the streets, fully-flowered trees come alive with brilliance and fragrance during spring. One of those places is Deer City.
By this time in a regular year, Japan would have been filled to the brim with millions of tourists looking to absorb all that scenic beauty and make the most colorful memories. Sadly, this year is not a regular one. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, international travel and tourism have been strongly restricted all over the world to contain the spread of the virus, and Japan’s tourist attractions are also facing the unnerving decline in visitors.
Nara, popularly known as Japan’s Deer City, was one of the first towns in Japan to record an outbreak of the coronavirus . A bus driver in his 60s who tested positive to the virus was reported to have ferried tourists into Deer City from Wuhan, China. A state of emergency was subsequently declared across the country to get in front of the situation, and this saw several business places, tourist centers, and shops packing up immediately.
However, it’s not all doom & gloom as animals are getting a chance to enjoy some tranquility. A Japanese photographer shared stunning pictures of the Nara Park in Japan, where the Sika deer came out in groups to relax and enjoy the wind under blooming cherry blossom trees . For the first time in many years, the deer could converge in the middle of the day to have some community time as there were just a few visitors and no hordes of people to disrupt the peace. The park is home to over 1,000 deer and dozens of cherry blossom trees. The cherry blossom, also known as the Sakura is Japan’s National flower. It welcomes the arrival of spring each year and is widely regarded in the country as a symbol of renewal and hope.
The trees get a break too
Tourists who visit the park in Deer City can often be seen climbing up the ancient and fragile cherry blossom trees to capture images of the scenery. Recently, it’s just been the deer, the trees, and the stunning flowers.
The deer rely mostly on crackers and other bite snacks from tourists for food. However, back in April, they were left with no other choice than to flood the streets when the park stopped receiving visitors . The friendly deer who wander freely all over the park’s grounds began to “seek external help”, gently milling about town looking for food.
Recently, the Japanese government has begun easing the lockdowns in many parts of the country, and people are starting to go outside again. The deer are now going back to the park and it’s such a satisfying sight to see them enjoying the cherry blossoms without any disturbance.
“Sometimes I don’t see anyone on the street,” said souvenir shop owner Tadayuki Takiguchi to AP news . “I’ve never seen anything like this.” He explains that while his business has seen far better days, the bright side is seeing so many locations that haven’t enjoyed a single moment of tranquility in many years finally peaceful.
A chance to heal
Nara Park is not the only place recuperating in this pandemic. Footage from all around the world has shown the damaging effect of human activity and pollution in many places, and while the circumstances are too grim and unfortunate, the environment might just be taking the chance to heal. It’s easier on the mind knowing that we are not going through these hard times all for nothing.
For the first time in ages, the waterways in Venice, Italy were clearer due to lower traffic. For the first time in 30 years, people in parts of India can see the stunning peaks of the Himalayas. Photos from around the world show incredible drops in air and land pollution as more people stay indoors and fewer industries emit greenhouse gases . Wildlife has taken over the Yosemite National park in California in the absence of visitors, and shocking photos from South Africa show a pride of lions at the Kruger National Park napping without a care in the world on an empty road.
This pandemic is one of the saddest realities we’ve had to face in decades, but a silver lining to hold onto is a cleaner environment and a less-damaged planet.
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