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Japan’s funny icons for travellers

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 3.12.35 pm

As Japan prepares itself for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, many prefectures are trying to lure visitors to places other than tourist magnets like Tokyo and Kyoto. Iwate prefecture, situated to the north of Tokyo, has turned to humour to lure non-Japanese speaking visitors by publicising a set of comical illustrations as a cheeky guide to Japanese customs.

These sets of illustrations hark to the clumsy illustration style of airplane safety cards, done in simple line drawings which are in contrast with what is typically associated with Japanese art forms like manga. Iwate prefecture has even launched a web page with these icons, with links to download these funny icons, titled ‘Ten Ways to Make Travelers Happy’. These are divided into several situations that a traveller might find themselves in, like at a hot spring, or in a restaurant.

Here are icons you can use in a restaurant:

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Here are ones for hot springs:







Credit cards? Here’s one:







The complete collection is available for download here.

Elsewhere in Japan, you may find even funnier signs, like this one:



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