Rub shoulders with Japan’s sacred deer on this very special mode of transport.

Every now and then, railway operators in Japan dress their trains up with eye-catching adornments for special promotions like new movie releases or anime anniversaries.

However, down in Japan’s ancient capital of Nara, there’s a train that’s currently catching everyone’s attention, as it’s filled with images of deer.

Stepping into one of these carriages is like stepping into a park, where deer frolic amongst the greenery and blend into the scenery. The floor appears to be scattered with fallen petals as well, conjuring up idyllic images of deer relaxing beneath the sakura during cherry blossom season, much like we saw in this video which went viral for its beauty in 2020.

The reason for the deer takeover is because this train, known as the “Narashika Train” (“Nara Deer Train“) runs on the Kintetsu Line between Kintetsu Nara and Kobe Sannomiya stations. Nara is famous for its free-roaming deer, which gather in herds around Nara Park, and this train tips its hat to the sacred animals that draw thousands of tourists to the region every year.

▼ The deer don’t just appear on the inside of the train — they’re all over the outside too, with all designs drawn by Gemi, a local illustrator.

Image: @Press

The special train debuted in Japan on 5 December, and since then, it’s been bringing smiles to the faces of everyone who rides it, especially those travelling in the priority seat section, who get to literally rub shoulders with the animals.

The seats on the train are cleverly designed to look like deer fur, making them seem extra comfy, and the hand straps that hang from the overhead rails throughout the carriages are in the shape of cute deers.

Twitter user Marei (@mareiii04) snapped the above photos of the train on a recent journey, and after sharing the images online, the tweet quickly went viral, garnering over a million views in just four days.

▼ Marei captioned the tweet with “The train to Nara, isn’t it beyond cute!?!?

People online readily agreed, leaving comments like:

This is way too cute!”
o cute — I wish there were trains like this in other areas as well!”
“I like how if you sit in front of the deer it’ll look like the horns are growing out of your head!”
“Omg I wanna ride this train!”
“You were lucky to find the Narashika!”

It’s true that Marei was lucky to encounter this train — despite having taken the train to Nara eight times this year, this was the first time they were able to ride it. As the trains run randomly, you never know when they’re going to appear, so next time you’re visiting Nara, perhaps for the bizarre summertime ‘shikadamari’ deer gathering phenomenon, be sure to keep an eye out for the unusual train filled with deer!

Source, images: Twitter/@mareiii04
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