Kagawa Prefecture, Japan's smallest, lies in Shikoku Island's northeastern corner, flanked by Ehime and Tokushima prefectures. It faces the scenic Seto Inland Sea, dotted with tourist-friendly islands. Rich in heritage, Kagawa is the cradle of Shingon Buddhism, founded by the revered Kukai, or Kobo Daishi.
Culinary delights are central to Kagawa's charm, particularly its famed udon. Celebrated as the prefecture's signature dish, these udon noodles are known for their soft yet chewy texture and subtly rich flavor, winning over both local and international palates. Recently, visitors to Kagawa might be surprised by the ubiquitous presence of a peculiar pink Pokémon, Yadon (Slowpoke). From souvenir shops to food packaging and even postal boxes, Yadon's whimsical image is everywhere, sparking curiosity about its connection to Kagawa Prefecture.
How Yadon Became Kagawa Prefecture's Mascot
The reason Yadon, a whimsical pink Pokémon, became the mascot of Kagawa Prefecture is rooted in a playful linguistic coincidence. In April 2018, the "Yadon Paradise" event was held in Kagawa, drawing numerous visitors to the region. During this event, Yadon was named the promotional ambassador for the prefecture, known colloquially as "Udon Prefecture."
This unique appointment stems from the phonetic similarity between "Yadon" and "udon," the latter being Kagawa's renowned culinary specialty. Kagawa Prefecture is synonymous with udon in Japan, celebrated for offering some of the country's most delectable versions of this dish. The charming connection between the Pokémon's name and the prefecture's famed noodles made Yadon an ideal and memorable mascot for Kagawa, further cementing its status as the udon capital of Japan.
From Postal Boxes to Mail Trucks
With Yadon's adoption as Kagawa Prefecture's mascot, its delightful image gradually permeated various aspects of the region. In Japan, it's common to incorporate local symbols into postal box designs, and Kagawa was no exception. The Japanese Post Office even introduced a special Yadon-themed postage stamp*, celebrating the unique Yadon postal box located at Takamatsu Central Post Office.
*Discontinued from Dec 31, 2021.
Moreover, the local mail trucks were adorned with a charming Yadon pattern. This lovable character not only brings joy throughout Kagawa City but also sparks smiles among residents who see the Yadon-decorated mail trucks bustling through the streets, adding a touch of whimsy and endearment to everyday life in Kagawa.
Yadon-Themed Vending Machines
In Kagawa Prefecture, Itoen's vending machines stand out not just for their refreshments but for their charming Yadon designs. These machines double as emergency assistance dispensers and feature an irresistibly cute Yadon pattern, complete with a nod to "Udon Prefecture." The collaboration, dubbed "Udon Prefecture x Yadon Paradise in Kagawa," is evident in the vending machine's design, which is almost entirely adorned with Yadon imagery.
The delightful design extends to every side of the machine. Located at Takamatsu Port, these vending machines are a must-see for travelers heading to Naoshima Island and Shodoshima. They're not just functional but also a fun part of the local scenery, inviting visitors to enjoy a refreshing drink while admiring the unique Yadon-themed décor.
Capture Memories in Kagawa with Yadon Photo Booth Stickers
While encountering a live Yadon in Kagawa might be a whimsical dream, the Yadon sticker booth brings the next best thing to life! Adorned with an array of adorable Yadon designs, this photo booth is a delightful spot for visitors to capture memories. Unlike typical purikura booths, the Yadon sticker booth offers face filters that maintain natural proportions, avoiding overly exaggerated eyes or unnaturally small faces. This makes it a fun experience for everyone, regardless of gender.
When you snap a photo, the stickers not only feature cute Yadon motifs but also include a location filter, indicating where the photo was taken. For instance, one popular location is the Tonosho Port Tourism Center (土庄港観光センター). These sticker booths are user-friendly and accessible, even for those who don't read Japanese.
Additionally, near this pier, visitors can find a charming Yadon-themed manhole cover, adding another unique touch to Kagawa’s dedication to its beloved mascot.
Yadon-Themed Transportation in Kagawa
Upon arrival at Takamatsu Airport, visitors embarking on their journey to the main city or heading to the pier for island excursions have the opportunity to ride in a special Airport Limousine bus adorned with a cute pink Yadon pattern.
Additionally, the streets of Kagawa are graced with unique pink taxis featuring Yadon designs, offering another fun way to navigate the city. These taxis can be reserved here. Please note the website is available only in Japanese.
In Kagawa, affectionately known as Udon Prefecture, it's only fitting that the beloved mascot Yadon finds its way into the local cuisine. At Sanuki Udon in Takamatsu Airport, visitors can indulge in a unique culinary creation: tofu udon with a playful Yadon pattern. For those preferring a more traditional option, the regular menu offers the chance to add this fried tofu for an additional 220 yen.
For those looking to take a piece of Kagawa home, Yadon Udon is also available as a souvenir. Numerous souvenir shops throughout the prefecture offer a variety of products, including semi-fresh udon noodles. The attractive packaging adds to its appeal as a souvenir.
Inspired by Yadon's sweet and delicious tail, this "Yadon Udon" brings a whimsical twist to the dining table. These semi-fresh noodles can be easily prepared at home, allowing you to savor the joy and flavor of Yadon right from your kitchen.
Alternatively, for a different taste of Kagawa, try the olive somen from Shodoshima Island. These noodles are designed in white and pink, echoing Yadon's colors. Whether it's udon or somen, Kagawa's culinary scene is infused with the charm of its endearing mascot, Yadon.
Kagawa's love for its mascot Yadon extends into a range of unique souvenir products, each blending the local udon heritage with a touch of whimsy. One such item is Yadon Furikake (seasoning for rice), flavored with udon broth, kawame seaweed, spring onions, and soy sauce potatoes. Simply sprinkle it over rice to enjoy an udon-flavored treat, or create tasty rice balls for a quick and easy snack that embodies the essence of Udon Prefecture.
Another delightful offering is a packed of Fried Potatoes called "Yadon no Shippoteto," a play on the word shippo meaning tail. These are flavored with udon broth, giving your standard potato snacks a distinct flavor. These products not only capture the spirit of Yadon but also pay homage to the region's famous udon.
For something more exciting, try the Yadon Udon Curry. This set includes pink Yadon-pattern oiri (small, sugar puffs from Kagawa), allowing you to prepare semi-fresh udon noodles at home and top them with curry and decorative Yadon accents. It's a fun, easy way to enjoy Yadon Udon Curry right in your kitchen, perfect for two people.
Beyond food, Kagawa offers a myriad of Yadon-themed souvenirs and experiences. From Yadon-patterned manhole covers to attractions like Yadon Park and Yadon Hotel, plus a plethora of Yadon desserts, the region celebrates its mascot in diverse and creative ways. Whether you're a fan of Yadon or simply intrigued by Kagawa's unique culture, these souvenirs and experiences are not to be missed on your visit to the prefecture.
・For more things related to Yadon in Kagawa Prefecture: https://yadon.my-kagawa.jp
・Learn the history of Yadon: https://local.pokemon.jp/en/municipality/kagawa/
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