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Nara deer cool down in park ditches as record heat bakes west Japan

A deer in Nara Park is seen avoiding the heat in a roadside ditch, in Nara on Aug. 21, 2020. (Mainichi/Tatsuya Fujii)
Deer are seen avoiding the heat by resting in a ditch in Nara on Aug. 21, 2020. (Mainichi/Tatsuya Fujii)

NARA -- Nara Park's famous deer could be seen trying to escape the heat by diving into roadside ditches during the recent string of sweltering hot summer days in Japan.

    In Nara, the mercury reached 37.9 degrees Celsius on Aug. 21, while other western Japan cities of Takahashi in Okayama Prefecture and Toyonaka in Osaka Prefecture recorded debilitating temperatures of 39.3 C.

    Perhaps due to the influence of the government's "Go To Travel" tourism promotion campaign, sightseers have gradually returned to the park and its deer, themselves designated as national monuments. On Aug. 21, there were a number of tourists keeping cool with cold drinks or ice creams while they walked around. One man, a Tokyo-based company employee in his 50s visiting with his wife, said as he toweled off sweat in the shade, "It's hot as hell. I feel bad for the deer, too."

    According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, cities across western Japan recorded their highest temperatures of the year on Aug. 21, including Nakagyo Ward in Kyoto with 38.8 C, 38.7 C in the cities of Nishiwaki in Hyogo Prefecture, Hirakata in Osaka Prefecture, and Kyotanabe in Kyoto Prefecture. Osaka's Chuo Ward also recorded a high of 38.6 C.

    (Japanese original by Yosuke Oyake, Nara Bureau)

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