Mascots of Hokkaido
Hello everyone. Firstly we would like to offer our sincere sympathy to the victims and families of the recent earthquake in Hokkaido and the typhoon in Kansai. Our hotel was without electricity and water for two days, but we are now fully operational and back to normal. We would like to thank all our valued guests who stayed during this difficult period, we really appreciate your co-operation.
In today’s blog we would like to introduce some of the many mascot characters that represent Hokkaido.
This mascot won the 2014 ‘Yuru-chara Grand Prix’, a competition where people vote on the best mascot from many cities all over Japan. Yuru-chara is a Japanese term referring to mascots created to promote a region, event, or business, they are characterized by their cute designs often representing local culture, history or produce etc. Jin-kun is a cute ram and was made with the intention of making visitors smile and have good memories of eating delicious Sapporo food such as Genghis Khan (lamb barbeque).
2. TV tou-san
This mascot is a very famous symbol of Sapporo named after the iconic TV tower in Odori Park. The word ‘tou-san’ means father but ‘tou’ can also mean tower so it’s a funny play on words. His characteristics are a red body with a green waist band, he has a TV antenna on his head and a small moustache. TV tou-san also has two children, Taro and Hanako. Taro is pink and Hanako has a pacifier, they are both cute baby TV towers.
Tokke-chan is the mascot of the Sapporo Clock Tower. The clock on top of her head is always set to 3 o’clock. She kind of looks like a maguro tuna piece of sushi but her body is round and cute. At the time of this blog post, the Sapporo Clock Tower is currently closed for repainting the exterior wall (until October 31st 2018) however you can buy Tokke-chan goods in the Sapporo TV tower on the 1st floor.
This is the mascot of Hokuto City (where the famous Shin-Hakodate Hokuto shinkansen bullet train is). The idea for this character comes from the combination of Hokkaido rice and clams. The mascot is said to give small children rice from his stomach but many children think he is scary looking and cry if he gets too close! Poor Zushihocky!
5. Melon Kuma
Melon Kuma is the mascot of Yubari city (famous for producing some of Japan’s best melons). To put simply, he is a bear with a melon for a head. Melon Bear ‘suddenly changed into the fantastical creature that he is after eating some locally-grown melon’ says a local souvenir shop owner, and the creator of the mascot. Instead of a cute bear, the designers gave Melon Kuma a wild bear’s terrifying features!
There are many unique mascots in Hokkaido and if you ever have the chance to come you should start by looking around the airport or souvenir shops to see what you can find!