At many of the ski resorts in Japan you’ll find people dressed in Kigurumi but you might also be lucky enough to see the official ski resort mascot that some of the resorts have. Here are six from various places around Japan. If you know of any more let me know in the comments.
To start with heres Nozawa Onsen’s Nasuki-kun. Nozawa Onsen a small town in Nagano is famous for its skiing, onsen and Nozawana. The last is its speciality vegetable which provides the design inspiration for their character. Nozawana is a leaf vegetable which is often pickled. Nozawaonsen hosted the biathlon for the 1998 Nagano Olympics. Photo via Mew Mew factory.
On Hunter Mountain Shiobara in Tochigi you might see half a boiled egg whizzing down the slopes on skis, a snowboard or an inflatable ring. Hantama-kun the mascot for the ski resort came to life when someone cut a boiled egg in half and drew eyes with sauce. His name comes from Hunter Mountain but it also combines the words han meaning “half” and tamago meaning “egg.” Hantama-kun often has a salt shaker in his hand and sprinkles salt while shaking his yolk.
Kunio is the mascot for Kunizakai Kougen snow park, a resort in Takashima, Shiga. Kunio apparently started working in a restaurant but was promoted to become the mascot for the resort. He’s very good at skiing and is improving his snowboarding skills every day. He also has a girlfriend. Photo via Kunizakai Kougen snow park’s official site.
Nigata honoured the man who is said to have introduced skiing to Japan by creating a kigurumi based on his image. Theodor von Lerch Edler was Born in 1869 in what is now Slovakia and was a Major General of the Austrian Habsburg Army and a skiing pioneer. He came to Japan as an exchange officer with the Imperial Japanese Army 100 years ago but left as an ambassador to winter leisure sports. There are a number of monuments dedicated to the man, a museum and now finally a mascot. Find out more about the man here.
Happy Hako-chan is the mascot for Hakoteyama in Shiga. The Square box character comes from the Hako in Hakote which means box. He likes sweet food and his favourite word is happy. Photo via the Yuru-chara organisation
Makino Highland is a ski resort, onsen, golf course and onsen. Their mascot Sarasa-chan takes her name and look from Sarasadoudan Tsutsuji or Enkianthus a shrub with bell shaped pink tinged flowers that are found on Akasaka mountain. She’s currently on a diet and says her rival is Hikonyan. Photo via Yuru-chara organisation