Shika no Tsunokiri (deer horn cutting)

For almost 330 years, the Shika no Tsunokiri has been a marker of the fall season in Nara since the Edo Period. The event was started to protect townspeople, as well as valuable cultural properties from being damaged by bucks’ horns. This also protects the bucks themselves, from injuring or killing each other during fights. Originally, the event took place at various places throughout the city, with townspeople watching from the fronts of their stores or the roofs of their houses. Eventually, however, in more recent times, a special place was designated and the Shika no Tsunokiri became an annual event. During the cutting, 3 to 4 bucks are rounded up and, after being captured with rope, are held down. The cut horns are then presented to the gods, and the deer are returned to Nara Park. While at first the event may seem cruel, it has helped establish a long history of humans and deer being able to live together without injury.

Access from Tokyo
From Tokyo Sta. take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Kyoto Sta. and change to the Kintetsu Nara Line. Get off at Kintetsu Nara Sta. and take the local bus to “Kasuga Taisha Honden” bus stop.
October 10 - 12, 2015
Admission Fee:
Adults (7th grade and above) 1,000 Yen
Children (6th grade and below) 500 Yen
Website: Foundation for the Protection of Deer in Nara Park (in Japanese only)
Website: Deer Antler-Cutting Ceremony (digital brochure, PDF, in English)
Shika no Tsunokiri (deer horn cutting)

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