February 05, 2011

Horn Gather Antlers

One man quietly appears at Tobihino field in Kasuga Grand Shrine, Nara Park, and starts to play Beethoven's Symphony No. Six on the horn. Being drawn by the sound of the horn, more than 100 deer rush toward him from all directions!!
You will wonder whether the deer in Nara Park love a classic music or he is a Pied Piper ??  The deer are beckoned by something else. Acorns!

This is known as "Deer Gathering"(鹿寄せ). During winter less grass and less natural food are available, so the deer suffer from food shortages. From February to the beginning of March "Deer Gathering" is held to feed acorns to the deer.

It's over. Let's go home! 

Interesting reflections on the horn, but it has many scratches on it as the deer push and shove it.
The scratches are the history of this horn.

This is Nara Park in summer where fresh grass is everywhere!

This event started in 1892. However, this practice was suspended during World War Ⅱ. In 1949, the sound of the horn came back to Tobihino field. Since then  annually Beethoven's Symphony No. Six has been played on the horn.

Let's me introduce an interesting episode. On February 11th, 1979, Nini Rosso, a world-famous trumpeter came to Tobihino field from Italy. He had been curious whether the sound of a trumpet would be able to gather the deer. He started to play Symphony No. Six on his trumpet. As soon as the melody was absorbed in the wood,. he saw the deer jumping out of the woods one by one.  He was amazed that the deer had a good ear for music.

Besides the most eye-catching thing about the deer is that they practice Japanese custom - bowing to people as we bow when we greet.

In Nara Park there live about 1100 deer. All of them are wild animals and considered as holy messengers of Kasuga god.
 my related blog "I captured a moment".

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  1. I just love the reflection on the brass horn! Lovely photo! I love your blog and photos! I'm your newest follower!


  2. I love the pastel skies and its reflections on the water in the new photo of the header. Reflections on the horn is intersting.

  3. Beautiful pictures and very interesting to read! Thank you.

  4. The resonant horn over the field and deer trotting about
    And the contrast the feature in summer with that in winter.
    Beautiful posting.

  5. This blog is amusing me. It's humorous that Deer's favorite music is Beethoven Symphony Denen. I like it,too. I want to listen it with deer in Tobihino at dawn. But I am scared that 1100 deers are gathering to me.

  6. what a nice place to walk... I'd love to see all those dears surounding me, even if the horn must be quiet annoying to hear... You did catch lovely reflection on that instrument, though.

  7. A beautiful story about a wonderful place.
    Very nice photos also. Thank you!

  8. What a wonderful tradition! And the reflections in the horns are great. In fact, I like all your photos!

  9. An interesting post about the power of music, and the close-up of the horn illustrated it very well.

  10. Your photos are always attractive and refined. You are a very good story teller of Nara with these beautiful pictures.

  11. Thank you very much. Your warm comments are always encouraging me.

    Now a warm day and a cold day comes in turn. Spring is around the corner!!

  12. where in specific is this place? am going to tokyo and hakone, is it nearby?

  13. Lily,
    You are going to take hot spring!

    Hakone is no so far from Tokyo.
    Have you visited this site?
    It has a lot of information on Japan.



Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and leaving warm messages. I will visit your site soon. keiko