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New stylish Japanese license plates lets people show off prefecture pride on the move

Ever wanted to display the famous deer of Nara or the iconic Mount Fuji on your car? Well now you can!

Unless you’re the lucky resident of Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, there’s not much one can do in Japan to show off a bit of local pride in the form of license plates. A fix is in the works, however, allowing residents to showcase what their region is renowned for.

Starting October this year, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will issue 41 beautifully designed license plates that capture each region’s specialty. Whether it’s the delicious cherries of Yamagata Prefecture or the hot springs of Oita Prefecture, motorists can bring a piece of home with them wherever they go.

▼ The Tohoku region plates

From the order of left to right, top to bottom, here’s what each plate represents:

Morioka – Kozukata (the city’s ancient name)
Iwate – Night on the Galactic Railroad (a novel which also pays tribute to the Iwate Galaxy Railway Line)
Hiraizumi – World Heritage Sites

Sendai – Date Masamune (Edo period political leader) and Sendai Tanabata Festival
Yamagata – Villages filled with cherries
Shonai – “Waves of ears of rice” (a famous orchestral music) and Mount Chokai

▼ Kanto region

Tsuchiura – Hobiki-sen (a traditional fishing sailboat) and fireworks
Tsukuba – Mount Tsukuba
Maebashi – Mount Akagi

Koshigaya – Gaya-chan (the city’s duck mascot) participating in the awa odori (a traditional dance festival)
Narita – Airplanes taking off from Narita Airport
Kashiwa – Lake Teganuma

▼ Kanto and Hokushin’etsu regions

Kanto region (top row)
Setagaya – Tama River and white egret flower
Suginami – A city of Japanese cedar
Mount Fuji – Mount Fuji

Hokushin’etsu region (bottom row)
Niigata – Bandai Bridge and the Japanese crested ibis
Nagaoka – Nagaoka fireworks
Toyama – Tateyama Mountain Range

▼ Hokushin’etsu and Chubu regions

Hokushin’etsu region
Kanazawa – Yukitsuri (a unique Japanese technique for protecting trees from heavy snow) and the umebachi crest (family crest of a powerful feudal lord)
Ishikawa – Mount Haku and waves from Noto’s sea villages

Chubu region
Fukui – Dinosaurs fossils from the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

Mount Fuji – Mount Fuji and rice fields
Toyota – Toyota Stadium and the Grampus family (a family of mascots representing a football club)
Kasugai – Tofu-kun and Kasugai Cacti (local mascots)

▼ Kinki and Chugoku regions

Kinki region (top row)
Shiga – Lake Biwa
Kyoto – Hanamonyo (a traditional textile store), Amanohashidate (a scenic strip of land), and the five-story pagoda
Nara – Cherry blossoms and autumn foliage

Chugoku region (bottom row)
Tottori – Tottori sand dunes, Mount Daisen, and Japanese pear
Fukuyama – Hiroshima Toyo Carp (a professional baseball team)
Shimonoseki – Kaikyo Yume Tower, Akama Shrine, Shimonoseki Marine Science Museum, and Kanmon Bridge

▼ Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu regions

Chugoku region
Yamaguchi – Akiyoshidai Plateau and Kintai Bridge

Shikoku region
Tokushima – Awa odori (a dance festival)
Kagawa – Seto Inland Sea and olives

Ehime – Mikyan (a mandarin orange cat mascot)
Kochi – Harimaya Bridge and skipjack tuna

Kyushu region
Nagasaki – Stained glass

▼ Kyushu region

Sasebo – Stained glass
Kumamoto – Kumamon (one of Japan’s most famous mascots)
Oita – Hot springs

Miyazaki – Sun-soaked locales and the sea
Kagoshima – Sakurajima (an active volcanic island)

Obtaining one of the 41 colorful license plates requires a mere donation of at least 1,000 yen (US$9.14), the proceeds of which will go towards tourism promotion and traffic improvement. What a fantastic way for motorists to show support for their hometown.

And although Hakone isn’t on the list at the moment, we’re hoping that authorities are working hard to bring back those awesome Evangelion plates.

Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism via Japaaan
Images: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism