Winter. It’s cold and miserable most days, but every so often the freezing winds produce something magical that is awesome enough to take your mind off of your frozen toes. This is one of those things.
On 15 January, a tweet emerged revealing a secret Google Maps Street View available nestled deep in a valley in Nagano Prefecture. The tweet simply read “Open-air bath on full display in Street View.”
It seems like nearly every city, town, and village in Japan has a cute mascot character to represent it. Usually these are yuru-kyara, anthropomorphic characters often designed with qualities representing whatever that municipality is known for.
The city of Suwa, Nagano, however, knows that the worth of a mascot character should be judged not by how well it represents the region, but by how well it sells. And in Japan, nothing sells better than cute anime girls.
That’s why they came up with Suwa-hime, or Princess Suwa, a young anime princess from medieval Japan with her own manga, voice actress, and line of original figures and goods.
Since her creation in 2011, Suwa-hime has been such a success that the city has even started printing her on their official marriage certificates, and the nerdy public official who came up with her is likely basking in splendid vindication of his hobby for the first time in his life.
The Japanese arm of tourism website TripAdvisor gathered user comments and evaluations from the past year and used them to rank the Top 20 travel destinations in Japan over that time. Hiroshima Prefecture maintained its popularity with two destinations in the Top 5 while five Kyoto sightseeing spots made the list.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and A-Bomb Dome moved to the top of the list after coming in second last year. Read More
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