Kyoto Shimbun 2014.1.5 News

Hikonyan Gives up New Year Vacation to Increase Visitors by 10%
Hikone Castle New Year Holidays

"Hikonyan," the popular mascot of Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture, gave up his New Year vacation and has entertained visitors to Hikone Castle since the end of last year. With no days off, Hikonyan's performance has attracted over 10% more visitors than from the previous year, ranging from three-generation family groups to people on their way to their hometowns.

Performing daily since last spring in response to visitors' requests, Hikonyan appeared on the stage three times a day during the year-end and New Year holidays and is so popular he attracted crowds of hundreds of people each time. According to the castle administration office, the overall number of visitors from December 29 to January 3 reached 14,751 visitors, more than 1,500 people over last year when Hikonyan didn't appear on the stage until January 2. The head of the castle administration office said, "Thanks to Hikonyan's contribution, we had an increase in visitors, except for January 2 due to the rain."

Conspicuous in the crowds of visitors were family groups with grandchildren on a homecoming visit and their grandparents and the visitors were excited by Hikonyan's cute performance of waving his hands or shaking his bottom. A self-employed man visiting from Kakogawa City, Hyogo Prefecture, said with a smile, "As we paid our first visit of the year to a shrine in Kyoto, we extended our journey to Hikonyan. I am glad that my daughter was delighted at the sight of Hikonyan, exclaiming, 'he's so cute!'"

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Hikonyan appeared on stage daily, spreading good cheer to crowds of visitors (In front of Hikone Castle Museum, Konki-cho, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture)