20 Local Mascots in Japan
1. Miraitowa & Someity
Miraitowa (left) and Someity (right) are the official mascots of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
They were designed by artist Ryo Taniguchi. Someity was inspired by cherry blossoms, a symbol of the ephemeral beauty of nature, whereas Miraitowa’s name is drawn from the words for “Future” and “Permanence.”
The mascot of Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, Ayukoro-chan is a pair of adventurers on the hunt for food and nature. Koro, the pig, wants to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. Ayu, the fish resting on Koro’s head, had once been his grandfather’s adventuring buddy.
You would be hard-pressed to find a train station that does not sell Kumamon merchandise in the island of Kyushu in Japan. This famous mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture is known to ride the bullet train to other parts of Japan to promote the goodness of Kumamoto. Sometimes, he surprises guests by doing the Kumamon taiso exercise!
Bari-san is the mascot of Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, and a city known for its yakitori (BBQ chicken). It is always walking with a ship-shaped wallet in hand, ready to eat and drink. Imabari is a city with a long bridge that connects the island of Honshu with Shikoku. Bari-san wears the bridge on its head like a hat.
Sanomaru is the samurai warrior of Sano City in Tochigi Prefecture. He wears a bowl of ramen as a hat and has fried sweet potatoes as swords. In 2013, Sanomaru won an award for Best Mascot among more than 1,500 entries.
Gunma-chan, the mascot of Gunma Prefecture, may look like a pony, but she is capable of transforming into a wide variety of professions. Born as the mascot of a local athletic competition for people with learning disabilities, Gunma-chan has served as mascot promoting recycling, world heritage and labour appreciation.
Ieyasu-kun is a mascot of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. His mission is to bring good fortune to the city and to promote the goodness of Hamamatsu to the world. His “chonmage” hair bun is actually an eel from the local Lake Hamana!
Born as the “Last Otter of Shinjo River,” Shinjo-kun, the mascot of Susaki, Kochi Prefecture, is a master of dance and swimming. His life goal is to travel Japan in search of other otter friends.
In 2016, Shinjo-kun was one of the few mascots to appear in Japan Expo in Paris.
Kaparu is the official mascot of Shiki, Saitama Prefecture. He is a kappa monster carrying a messenger bag. Recently, he won a Best Performance award at a mascot contest in Taiwan for playing bass guitar.
The spirit of the famous “Amaou” strawberry of Fukuoka Prefecture, Amacchi is the representative of the Hakata City foods, which also includes rice, green onions, watermelons and cabbage.
Arukuma is the walking bear mascot of Nagano Prefecture, loves to hike mountains and to eat soba noodles. Arukuma is also terribly afraid of the cold, so they wear a headwear that changes depending on their activity.
Based in Nara Park in the city of Nara, Shikamaro is a mascot that aims to promote the beauty of Nara to the world. Like many of his deer friends, Shikamaro likes senbei cakes sold at the roadside stands.
Gosamaru is the master of the Nakagusuku Castle in Okinawa Prefecture. He is named after a historical prince of the Ryukyu Empire. His favorite food is carrot and his favorite hangout spot is the Nakagusuku Castle Park.
14. Neko Masamune
Neko Masamune is a cat samurai warrior of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. He loves to soak in hot springs and to fish. His swords are named Ryugetsu and Aoba.
Gakuto-kun is the mascot of Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture. He is a self-proclaimed student of the famous conductor, Tetsuji Honna, who was born in Koriyama. He loves music of all genres and plays in a band called Gakuto-kun Band at local events.
Makki wears a pine tree and roses in her hair. She is the mascot of Matsubara City in Osaka Prefecture. Her mission is to bring smiles to everyone she meets.
17. Melon Kuma
Melon Kuma was inspired by real-life incidents of melon-eating bears in Yubari City in Hokkaido. He can appear friendly or angry, but at the bottom of their heart, he loves Yubari.
Sanudon is an udon spirit of Kagawa Prefecture, a prefecture known for its production of udon noodles.
He wears a sunny-side up egg on his head, and can sometimes rap to guests about the greatness of Sanuki Udon.
Unari-kun, the mascot of Narita City, Chiba Prefecture, is an alien that landed in Narita International Airport, and fell in love with the area. Unari-kun is friendly, and can make friends with any type of person!
20. Sakura & Guribu
Born in Kagoshima City in Kagoshima Prefecture, this mascot couple wears flowers on their heads and love to travel together and promote the natural beauty of Kagoshima. Their special ability is the Guribu Dance.