Kinosaki Inspirations

Introducing Izushi’s Mascots

  • Who says a small town can't have four mascot characters? The Izushi Information Center goes all-out when it comes to promoting the charming castle town, and with the introduction of the following newly released characters, serious collectors and kawaii fans alike definitely won't leave Izushi empty-handed. Before your trip back in time to Kinosaki Onsen's nearby samurai castle town, get acquainted with the cats, bear, and stork waiting to welcome you:

  • The Ninja of Izushi Castle Ruins

    Did you know that ninja once roamed Izushi?
    The only one that remains nowadays is the ninja cat of Izushi castle Ruins!

    Legend has it that ninja once were hidden in the backwoods of Okuyama, a rural area of Izushi.

    Some speculate that the ninja remained there to train and prepare should they receive any orders from Izushi Castle.

    Built in 1604, Izushi Castle has been a hallmark of the Tajima region for centuries. The town of Izushi was gradually built around Izushi Castle, where eventually a scenic, traditional castle town was developed. Although the main building was destroyed during the Meiji Period, some architecture still remains including restored turrets, a bridge, and gate.

  • Toriko, the Oriental White Stork from Arikoyama Inari Shrine

    Toriko gets her name from the tiny torii gate adorning her head (a play on the Japanese words for stork, "konotori" and the "torii" gates seen at Shinto Inari shrines.

    In the past, Oriental White Storks often used to nest in the trees above Arikoyama Inari Shrine, but nowadays many prefer the man made nesting towers dotting Toyooka City.
    Arikoyama Inari Shrine is located beside Izushi Castle Ruins, and is part of the reason why Izushi is lovingly referred to by locals as “Little Kyoto.”

    Arikoyama Inari Shrine decorates the base of Mount Arikoyama and is well-known for resembling Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine with its stairway lined with vibrant vermillion red torii gates.

  • The Izushi Soba Hostess

    Izushi's local delicacy is soba buckwheat noodles, a traditional Japanese dish.
    What makes Izushi Soba, well, "Izushi Soba," however, is that it is served on 5 small plates instead of one large plate.

    This was historically done to show off the sleek, white porcelain pottery local artisans created and dubbed "Izushi Pottery."

    Izushi's Soba Hostess hopes that you enjoy a five-plate course of Izushi soba during your visit, and for those looking for a more hands-on experience, try making your own soba noodles in a guided noodle-making activity.

  • Eikichi, the protege at Eirakukan Kabuki Theater

    Eirakukan Kabuki Theater in Izushi was built in 1901 and is the oldest Kabuki theater in the Kansai region of Japan.

    Events such as dancing, poetry sessions, and concerts are regularly held, attracting crowds of visitors with every new performance.

    Eirakukan Kabuki Theater's Eikichi gets his name from combining "Eirakukan" and a Japanese word for good fortune, "kichi."

  • Want a bag buddy for the rest of your trip?
    Stop by the Izushi Information Center and pick up a charm for yourself or a friend for 390 JPY.

  • About

    Danielle Leveille

    Danielle Leveille

    Junior Local Expert

    Originally from Chicago in the USA. She currently works for Visit Kinosaki as a coordinator for international relations. A lover of Tajima beef and hidden sightseeing spots, she can be found either at one of her favorite restaurants or exploring a secret nook in town.