To celebrate the 123rd anniversary of the naming of Yanagase district in Gifu, the Yanagase shopping district hosted the All-Japan "yuruchara" assembly on June 30-July 1.
Yuruchara are mascots created by local governments based on animals or local specialty products to promote tourism. Their continued popularity has resulted in a yuruchara boom
The Yanagase shopping district is home to Yanana, a yuruchara mermaid whose head is made of a cardboard box.
There have been many events featuring yuruchara held across the country, including the annual Yuruchara Grand Prix popularity contest. The Yanagase event brings together one yuruchara each from Tokyo and 46 prefectures for the first time.
In addition to 2011 Yuruchara Grand Prix winner Kumamon from Kumamoto Prefecture, Ebecchan from Hyogo Prefecture, Wakura Onsen Wakutamakun from Ishikawa Prefecture, Koyurichan from Fukushima Prefecture and many other local stars joined the nationwide event.
Mermaid yuruchara Yanana served as host of the event.
Visitors tasted Yanagase coffee, a local signature drink, and enjoyed live music and dance performances.
For more information, go to (http://www.yanagase123.net/).
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