Laid-Back "Tsukihashi Wataru"Arashiyama Shopping Arcade's Mascot25 March 2014 - Sightseeing/Events
Thinking to inspire feelings of familiarity with the scenic Arashiyama, the Arashiyama shopping arcade in Kyoto City's Ukyo Ward has created a mascot for the area, "Tsukihashi Wataru." A student of Kyoto Saga University of Arts (KSUA) contributed the design, which appears unconsciously relaxed. Without delay, the mascot has appeared on tourist maps, making his presence felt.
Influenced by the recent "Yuru-Kyara," or cute mascot, boom, the plan was to express a stance to adopt something new without any particular regard for tradition. A design competition was held last April at KSUA, with which the shopping arcade has interacted to develop special products, and of 22 entries, the work of a 20-year-old sophomore from the Department of Design was chosen as best.
The Tsukihashi Wataru mascot design is a man with the Togetsu-kyo Bridge on his back, sometimes shown standing up straight, sometimes on all fours. His age, referencing the time when the bridge was built in the early Heian Period, is given as "about 1,180 years old," and his pale-white complexion is charming. His designer said, "I hope he'll be a character that gives people a chance to enjoy Arashiyama lightheartedly."
A total of 10,000 maps featuring Tsukihashi Wataru have been produced and distributed to 78 member shops, including souvenir boutiques and restaurants. Posters to display in the shops and button badges for staff to wear were also produced. The arcade reported, "There is positive feedback from young people and women. We wish to increase the appeal of vibrant Arashiyama, which is always evolving."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)