Cartoon creatures lift Japanese spirits

The Japanese love cartoon characters and mascots; ualmost always brightly coloured. 

They are used to add a symbolic presence to a place or event, and are hugely popular with different demographics and age groups. 

On some occasions people wear life-size mascot costumes, on others the creatures are in miniature. 

They date back as far as haniwa ; terracotta clay figures that were buried with or alongside the dead during the kofun period, the 3rd to sixth centuries AD. 

Here are a few of the characters/creatures that caught my eye on a recent trip to Kansai.
  













THE FACTS

Qantas flies direct between Sydney and Osaka Kansai three times a week with economy return fares starting from $1156 per person. www.qantas.com.au

The writer was a guest of Kansai Gastronomy Tourism Promotion Council and associated companies, including Keihan Holdings and JR West. Pick up the Osaka-Kansai Gourmet Food Map when you arrive for some helpful regional itineraries. www.kansaibishoku.net/en

The Hotel Vischio by Granvia is a recently opened, centrally located and affordable hotel choice in the busy Umeda precinct of Osaka, just a short walk from JR Osaka Station. www.hotelvischio-osaka.com/en       

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