When people think of Japan, they often think of towering buildings, tons of traffic, and commuters being packed in trains like sardines into cans. But you’ll find that if you travel outside of the city center, Japan also has a plenty of nature and wildlife to be enjoyed as well.
One of the more well-known sights to be seen are herds of wild deer found in areas like Nara Park and Miyajima. Without any predators or hunters to worry about, the deer can breed freely and herd numbers can get quite high. Overpopulation can become a problem, not just for farmers and people living in the area, but for the surrounding wildlife as well. So what can be done when wild deer numbers get out of hand? Well one solution could be to do as Shiga Prefecture did, and cook up some special venison curry.
From July 1, fast food curry chain Coco Ichibanya began selling their special venison curry at a select number of stores in Shiga Prefecture, at 600 yen (US$4.89) for a 220 gram package.
Image: Wikipedia (kici)
Japanese-style curry is quite different from Indian curry, with a heartier, more meaty flavor, and typically includes potatoes, carrots, and onions in the roux as well.
According to reports, after Shiga Prefecture suffered damages amounting to over 120 million yen in just 12 months, it was decided that something needed to be done about the wild deer in the area.
▼A common sight in Nara Park
In certain areas of the United States, hunting permits are issued to allow people who hunt for sport to help keep certain animal populations under control. But hunting isn’t really feasible in the areas in which deer tend to thrive in Japan, so unfortunately there aren’t many other options aside from exterminating them. But then there comes the problem of disposal, which is where the curry comes in.
Some people prefer not to think about where their food comes from, as commercial farming conditions aren’t always the best, but for those who are concerned, you can rest assured knowing that the deer were all as free range as it can be!
If you happen to be passing through Shiga and are looking for something unique to take back with you, be sure to stop by a CoCo Ichibanya for the venison curry – and let us know how it was in the comments section below!
Source and featured image: CoCo Ichibanya