Kyoto Shimbun 2013.12.15 News

Huge Santa Claus Pops Up
Shigaraki Station, Koka City

The eye-catching, huge ceramic "Tanuki," or raccoon dog, in the front of Shigaraki Station of Shigaraki Kohgen Railway in Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture, has recently been dressed up in a familiar red costume to be transformed into Santa Claus. The railway's service is still suspended due to damage from Typhoon 18, but its humorous appearance delights the eyes of local people and bus riders using the alternative transportation.

The huge ceramic raccoon dog is 5 meters tall with a girth of 6.5 meters. The youth group of the Shigaraki Branch Office of the Koka City Society of Commerce and Industry has dressed it in a Santa costume since 2002 in conjunction with the year-end and New Year holiday illumination project in the area around Shigaraki Station.

It's becoming more and more popular, and people waiting for the alternative bus transportation can be seen taking pictures of the "Raccoon Dog Santa Clause" via their cellular phones. Youth group members said, "This winter, it has become the station-front symbol of our hopes for the rapid recovery of our railway service."

The illumination event will continue until January 13, 2014. The ceramic raccoon dog will be dressed as Santa Claus around Christmas.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= A huge ceramic raccoon dog in Santa Claus attire (Shigaraki Station front, Shigaraki Kohgen Railway, Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture)