Is that a giant eyeball in your luggage or are you just happy to see me?
Actually, it’s neither! What you’re looking at up there–and what’s staring back at you–is an art piece that rides the baggage carousel at a local Tottori Prefecture Airport. Realizing how boring it can be to wait for your luggage to come, the airport lets Medama no Oyaji ride around to his tiny heart’s content to cheer up impatient passengers.
But Tottori’s airport isn’t the only one getting in on the rotating art displays. Check out some of the country’s best below!
Asahikawa Airport, located in the northern snowy lands of Hokkaido, features a lovable seal, complete with a wide-eyed baby, as well as the penguin pictured below!
They are, of course, only statues, but they serve as excellent advertising for the Asahikawa Zoo. You really want to go see some seals and penguins now, don’t you?
Toyama Kitokito Airport
The Toyama Kitokito Airport takes it name from the local dialect; it seems that “kitokito” means “fresh” in Toyama. The sushi statue is meant to evoke Toyama’s clean ocean waters–and, we imagine, to get some mouths watering as well.
The story of Momotaro, the child folk hero born from a peach, originated in Okayama, so it’s only natural that he be the featured art piece at Okayama Airport! He looks like he’s holding some kibidango, a type of sticky rice cake that Okayama is know for.
Yonago Kitaro Airport
In case you haven’t seen Gegege no Kitaro, Medama no Oyaji is the main character’s diminutive father–in the anime and manga, the eye is normal-sized and the rest of the body is shrunken to fit under it! Tottori Prefecture is also famous for the yokai (spirit)-inspired series, so we can’t think of a better statue to greet bored passengers waiting for their luggage!
Kagawa Prefecture is currently going all out with their PR campaign for their delicious udon, so it’s hardly surprising to see that Kagawa’s Takamatsu Airport features udon art. One passenger said that everyone was taking pictures–but there were sad that they couldn’t eat any of the delicious-looking noodles. Trust us, we can sympathize!
Famous for its old buildings, Nagasaki prefecture might not immediately bring to mind strawberries, mikan oranges, or loquats for international travelers. Even so, Nagasaki is famous for their “sachinoka” and “toyonoka” strawberries.
Of course, Nagasaki’s representative special product is their mikan oranges. The plate in the picture above proclaims that if you eat them once, you’ll fall in love. That sounds like a challenge!
Finally, it turns out that Nagasaki is the number one producer of loquats in Japan. The loquat brothers in the picture above look pretty happy about it too! Well, until we eat their faces, we suppose.
Oita Airport saw a giant rotating device and made the most logical connection possible: kaiten-zushi, or, in English, conveyor belt sushi. In the picture above, you can see some tuna and shrimp sushi, though unfortunately they’re not edible.
The airport also has some sea urchin sushi art making the rounds to appeal to those of you with more adventurous taste buds.
Being one of Japan’s most productive agricultural prefectures, Miyazaki has a lot of foods to show off. In particular, the prefecture is known for its mangos, as you might guess from the giant mango statue pictured above.
Of course, Miyazaki is also one of the top beef producers in Japan, as you can probably tell from this enormous hunk of (fake) beef.
A black…pumpkin? Apparently Miyazaki grows quite a few of these guys as well. Maybe this giant pumpkin statue is really what Charlie Brown was waiting for?
Here’s one of Miyazaki’s more unique products, the hyuganatsu. Apparently, this citrus fruit is part of the mikan family and was discovered in a Miyazaki garden in 1820. It seems to be a mutation from yuzu and has a sour-but-sweet taste.
Naturally, Miyazaki Airport also has a statue for their sweet-tasting mikan.
And finally we have a statue of my favorite produce: green peppers! Miyazaki Prefecture is the number-two producer of peppers in Japan after Ibaraki Prefecture.
We love carousel art! It’s a clever way to introduce newcomers to local products and helps make passengers’ trips just a little bit more fun. And after a few hours stuck in an air-tight metal tube with a few hundred other smelly people, a little bit of fun is always welcome, right?
Now, you’ll have to excuse us. We’re freaking starving!