Shibuya selects mascot
In yet another move for a municipality to use “yuru-kyara” cute characters for promotional purposes, the Shibuya Ward government has selected a character called Airissun to be its mascot, the ward announced April 1.
Shibuya Ward collected yuru-kyara ideas from the public between July 25 and Sept. 28 last year. Judges — including model, singer and Harajuku Kawaii Ambassador Kyary Pamyu Pamyu — selected Airissun out of 1,547 nominees.
Airissun is a Japanese iris fairy created by an elementary school girl in Shibuya Ward. The story behind Airissun is that the fairy lives in Yoyogi Park and its hobby is to water flowers and put on makeup.
While the name Airissun is derived from “iris,” “ai” also means love in Japanese and “rissun” is pronounced similarly to the English word “listen.” With these meanings, Shibuya Ward hopes the public will love, look at and listen to the ward.
Yuru-kyara literally means “a loose character.” Hundreds of local governments, companies and other entities use characters based on animals and imaginary creatures for promotional purposes.
Cruise around Japan
Princes Cruises, one of the world’s three largest luxury cruise operators, is offering two special round-trip cruises from Yokohama around the time of Golden Week.
The cruises include delicious international cuisine and drinks, and various entertainments, such as a fitness center, an open-air theater, a spa and beauty salon, musicals, magic shows and a casino.
The Sun Princess, a liner that can carry about 2,000 people, will stop by some touristic spots, including Hiroshima and Busan, South Korea. Passengers are given some time on land for shopping during the cruises.
One of the two luxury cruises will span Golden Week, leaving Yokohama on April 27 and covering nine days. The ports of call include Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Busan and Hakata in Fukuoka. Passengers will stay overnight in Hiroshima and Fukuoka.
The ship will arrive back in Yokohama on the morning of May 6.
During the trip, the timing of the overnight stay in Fukuoka will coincide with the Hakata Dontaku Festival. Passengers will be able to take in the parade, which has 800 years of history.
The other cruise covers 12 days and will leave Yokohama on the evening of May 6, traveling to Aomori; Busan; Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture; Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture; Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture; and Nagoya. Passengers will stay overnight in Kanazawa. The ship returns to Yokohama on May 18.
Both cruises start from ¥169,000.