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Otsu Hikaru-kun, official mascot of Otsu. He is based on the Hikaru Genji character in the Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji) novel. おおつ光ルくん
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Official mascot greets visitors on the main path to Ishiyama-dera temple.
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First they introduced Shiga's mascot characters including Hiko-nyan.
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Shiga's mascot characters
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Hashi Yukio
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Hiko-nyan and mouse.
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Tabimaru from Kusatsu, Shiga.
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Two catfishes: Magnee (Shiga Lakestars mascot) and Caffy (sports mascot).
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Mori from Moriyama, Shiga
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Ninjaemon ninja mascot from Koka, Shiga
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Mascot based on pop singer Takanori Nishikawa of T.M. Revolution who hails from Shiga Prefecture. He is an official tourism ambassador for Shiga.
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Otsu Hikaru-kun from Otsu, Shiga to promote the 1000th anniversary in 2008 of the novel Genji Monogatari written in Ishiyama-dera temple in Otsu. おおつ光ルくん (滋賀 大津市)
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Daughter Sagawa from Moriyama.
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Sagawa family of mascots from Sagawa Art Museum in Moriyama, Shiga.
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Official mascots of Maibara, Shiga Prefecture. A pair of fireflies.
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Mama firefly from Maibara
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Hiko-nyan arrives on a cart pulled by bicycle. He didn't stop and kept going.
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Hiko-nyan is the most popular character, but he was least seen and not available to the public. No one could get close.
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Hatsu Azai
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Tanuki mascot from Shigaraki, Koka, Shiga
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Dotaku-kun from Yasu, Shiga. Modeled after Japan's largest ancient bronze bell discovered in Yasu. ドウタクくん (滋賀 野洲市)
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The Azai sisters. On the left is Chacha-hime, based on the eldest daughter Chacha (later Lady Yodo-dono) of Lord Azai Nagamasa and Oichi (sister of Oda Nobunaga) who lived in Odani Castle in Kohoku-cho. Middle is Hatsu, and Go on the right. 茶々姫
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Vivace-kun is a beaver promoting Viva City shopping mall in Hikone, Shiga. ビバッチェくん (滋賀 彦根市)
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Ogoton from Ogoto Onsen, Otsu
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Tabi-maru. a traveler character from Kusatsu, Shiga. Kusatsu was a crossroads on the old Tokaido and Nakasendo Roads where many travelers lodged. "Tabi" means "travel." たび丸 (滋賀 草津市)
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Otsu Hikaru-kun from Otsu, Shiga to promote the 1000th anniversary in 2008 of the novel Genji Monogatari written in Ishiyama-dera temple in Otsu. おおつ光ルくん (滋賀 大津市)
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Kamon-chan is a princess created by students at Shiga Univ. for Ii Naosuke and the 150th anniversary of Japan's opening to the world. カモンちゃん (滋賀 彦根市)
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Humanoid mascots were the most numerous. This is Chacha-hime, based on the eldest daughter Chacha (later Lady Yodo-dono) of Lord Azai Nagamasa and Oichi (sister of Oda Nobunaga) who lived in Odani Castle in Kohoku-cho. 茶々姫
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Yoemon-kun, the mascot for the 400th anniversary of the birth of Confucian scholar Nakae Toju from Takashima, Shiga Pref. よえもん君 (滋賀 高島市)
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Tabi-maru. a traveler character from Kusatsu, Shiga. Kusatsu was a crossroads on the old Tokaido and Nakasendo Roads where many travelers lodged. "Tabi" means "travel." たび丸 (滋賀 草津市)
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Shimasako-nyan, a cat based on one of Ishida Mitsunari's retainers. しまさこにゃん、ひこね「街の駅」寺子屋 力石マスコットキャラクター
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Vivace-kun is a beaver promoting Viva City shopping mall in Hikone, Shiga. ビバッチェくん (滋賀 彦根市)
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Hiko-chu from Hikone. A Koga ninja mouse. Notice the shuriken on his left. Its creator seems to have been influenced too much by Mickey. ひこちゅう (滋賀 彦根市)
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Caffy, mascot for Sports Recreation Shiga 2008. It was his final appearance, but he has been resurrected in March 2009 to serve as another official mascot of Shiga Prefecture. キャッフィー(滋賀)
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Sagawan (little sister) is the cutest of the bunch, promoting the Sagawa Art Museum in Moriyama, Shiga. さがわん3兄弟(妹)(滋賀 守山市)
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Ogoton for promoting Ogoto Onsen Spa in Otsu, Shiga. His hairs represent the hot spring's steam. おごとん (滋賀 大津市雄琴温泉)
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Dotaku-kun from Yasu, Shiga. Modeled after Japan's largest ancient bronze bell discovered in Yasu. ドウタクくん (滋賀 野洲市)
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Miss Hikone Castle
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Miss Hikone Castle
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Hiko-nyan, the official mascot for Hikone Castle's 400th anniversary in 2007. He proven to be so popular that he has been retained as the city's official mascot. Basically a white cat with a horned samurai helmet. ひこにゃんOne of the most famous mascots in Japan.
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Hiko-nyan merchandise in Heiwado
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Where Hiko-nyan's helmet design came from.
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Hikone's official mascot Hiko-nyan appears three times daily for a 30-min. show: 10:30 am and 1:30 pm in front of the main castle tower (tenshu) and at 3:00 pm outside Hikone Castle Museum.According to legend, one day, Ii Naotaka, the third lord of Hikone Castle, was doing falconry in Tokyo and was near a temple when he saw this cat raising its paw. He was led inside the temple where he was able to rest inside. A major thunderstorm ensued, and the cat saved him from getting wet.
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Hiko-nyan does not talk or even "meow." He speaks through a handler or translator. Basically, he (or it) just struts around and makes cute poses with or without a prop.Another legend says that as soon as the cat beckoned Naotaka into the temple, lightning struck the tree where he was standing. Thus, the cat saved his life.
This legendary cat connection gave birth to the idea behind Hiko-nyan. This same legend is also one theory for the origin of the ubiquitous beckoning cat you see at shops and restaurants in Japan. The beckoning cat can be called Hiko-nyan's cousin.
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"Hiko" refers to Hikone, and "nyan" is a baby word for cat. Hiko-nyan's appearance schedule is here.If it rains, Hiko-nyan appears at the Castle Museum. Hiko-nyan is a white cat wearing a red samurai helmet with horns, modeled after the one worn by Lord Ii Naomasa, the first lord of Hikone Castle.

Hiko-nyan also makes guest appearances at various events to promote Hikone. He has even traveled to Hawaii to appear in a Japan parade in Waikiki.
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And here's Hiko-nyan!! Direct from Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, Japan in the 30th Pan-Pacific Festival (also called “Matsuri in Hawaii”) parade on June 7, 2009 from 5 pm to 7 pm along Kalakaua Ave. in Waikiki.ひこにゃんが僕の故郷であるハワイにも登場したことはとても嬉しいかったけど、写真をよく見ると、どこも「Shiga」とか「Hikone」が表示していないの。ただの「Hikonyan–Ii Naosuke-Gateway to the Future」しか載っていない。それは意味が不明。最低、FROM HIKONE, SHIGA, JAPANとか書けばいいな。せっかく皆が見るので。市の職員がPRの感覚が鈍い。
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Hiko-nyan in Hawaii!!
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Back view. Unfortunately, they did not display where this cat came from. It was Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, JAPAN.ひこにゃんが僕の故郷であるハワイにも登場したことはとても嬉しいかったけど、写真をよく見ると、どこも「Shiga」とか「Hikone」が表示していないの。ただの「Hikonyan–Ii Naosuke-Gateway to the Future」しか載っていない。それは意味が不明。最低、FROM HIKONE, SHIGA, JAPANとか書けばいいな。せっかく皆が見るので。市の職員がPRの感覚が鈍い。
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写真をよく見ると、どこも「Shiga」とか「Hikone」が表示していないの。ただの「Hikonyan–Ii Naosuke-Gateway to the Future」しか載っていない。それは意味が不明。
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最低、FROM HIKONE, SHIGA, JAPANとか書けばいいな。せっかく皆が見るので。市の職員がPRの感覚が鈍い。こんな基本的なこと、なんで考えてくれないの??
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Stone statue of Hiko-nyan in Hikone.
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A procession arrived at the river led by the Hikone Castle Ambassadors.
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Hiko-nyan and Magnee fires up the crowd. Hiko-nyan is a white cat wearing a red samurai helmet modeled after the one worn by Lord Ii Naomasa, the first lord of Hikone Castle.
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According to legend, one day, Ii Naotaka, the third lord of Hikone Castle, was doing falconry in Tokyo and was near a temple when he saw this cat raising its paw. He was led inside the temple where he was able to rest inside.
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Magnee playing around.
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Magnee and cheerleaders.
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If you feel down or depressed, see a basketball game to cheer you up.
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Magnee, Shiga LakeStars official mascot modeled after the Lake Biwa catfish. Kind of strange seeing a fish with two legs...
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Shiga LakeStars official mascot, Magnee (modeled after the Lake Biwa catfish).
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Magnee joins the Lakestars cheerleaders.
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Otsu's two Biwako Otsu tourist ambassadors were also on hand. Also see my YouTube video for this Yoimiya here.
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As well as Otsu Hikaru-kun, official mascot of Otsu. He is based on the Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji) character. おおつ光ルくん
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The top of the Saigyo Sakura Tanuki-yama float also has a stuffed tanuki (raccoon dog). This is how to identify this float at Otsu Matsuri.
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By now, you will notice that the tanuki (racoon dog) is the symbol of Shigaraki. This giant tanuki greets you at Shigaraki Station. Wish they removed that pay phone.
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Shigaraki Tanuki mascot walked around the site.
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Mitsunari-kun is the official mascot of the Nagahama Sengoku Taiga Furusato-haku expo. The expo highlights three areas of interest in Nagahama: Odani Castle and Azai, Kinomoto and Mt. Shizugatake, and central Nagahama and Chikubushima island.
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Vending machine trash bin with tanuki design at Shigarakigushi Station.
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They had a whole bunch of Caffy mascots walking around. Caffy is modeled after the Lake Biwa Giant Catfish, a unique species found only in Lake Biwa.
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Caffy, the official mascot of Sports Recreation Shiga 2008, is modeled after the Lake Biwa Giant Catfish, a unique species found only in Lake Biwa.
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Caffy-yaki sweet bean bun.
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Caffy doll
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Shrine maiden mascot from Taga, Shiga.
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Tora-nyan, Kora's official mascot.
     
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