Follow This Floral Cat on a Tour of Tokyo's Rivers

posted on 2014-02-10 15:45 EST by Eric Stimson
Bizarre gag manga character accompanies noted expert on riverboat tour

Although not often thought of as a city particularly tied to its waterways, Tokyo was in the past a great canal city with a lively commercial traffic taking place on a canal and river network crossed by numerous bridges. It is now primarily oriented toward the sea and traffic has shifted almost entirely to trains and roads. But visitors interested in uncovering this mostly forgotten aspect of the Japanese capital's past recently had the opportunity to take a tour of the rivers on a leisurely boat ride with a strange mascot named Nekkoro.

Nekkoro is the central character in six different manga series by Isami Nakagawa running in Coro Coro Ichiban, Putchigumi, Monthly IKKI, Ciao Deluxe Horror, Shonen Sunday Super, and Flowers Special Edition. He is based off of a pun: he's a cat (neko) with roots (nekko). The tour encompassed the Sumida, Nihonbashi, and Kanda Rivers. As a bonus, tourists who snapped photos of Nekkoro on the trip and uploaded them onto Twitter with the hashtag #nekkoro were entered in a raffle to receive Nekkoro merchandise.

Those interested in the tour will sadly have to wait until the next time it's offered; the tour took place on February 9, with one at 10:30 AM and one at 2:30 PM. The tour guide, Yoshihisa Ishizaka, is the author of Toukyou Suiro-wo Yuku ("Traveling Tokyo's Waterways") and extended an invitation to Nekkoro after enjoying his gravure book, Nekkoro-no Irukurashi ("The Life of Nekkoro").

[Via Comic Natalie, Nekkoro Kasoku Kenkyuujo, and Suiro-wo Yuku Daini Unga; Image from Mapple]

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