I was originally planning on doing individual plushie posts later, but I couldn’t wait to share this one!
It’s Nara Rilakkuma!
This plushie was produced by HNA with a Rilakkuma license!
Basically, each prefecture in Japan has its own special Rilakkuma based on the what’s special for that particular city.
In Nara, there are a TON of deer, so Nara Rilakkuma is appropriately wearing deer antlers and holding up a rice cracker called shika-senbei – you can buy them to feed the deer.
I think it’s really fitting because it seems like deer paradise in Nara. According to legend, one of the gods (Takenomikazuchi-no-mikoto) appeared on a mountain riding a deer, and since then, deer have been considered messengers of the gods in Shinto! Back then, killing a deer was a crime punishable by death!
In any case, I was super excited to run across this Rilakkuma plushie! Wish I could’ve found more – the HNA website lists 59 different Rilakkuma designs in just the Kansai region alone! They seem pretty difficult to find though; we only ran into this one at a small souvenir shop by chance as we were leaving Tōdai-ji.
Speaking of deer… I hear that the newest Rilakkuma series leak is a deer Rilakkuma??
Wow, how fitting! Seeing this design after a deer-filled day in Nara is pretty silly hahaha