Who likes this guy?
Sento-kun has become quite a figure of controversy in Kansai, and this debate is sparking an interest in Nara tourism. Getting people to be mildly put off by Sento-kun was intentional; the controversy is in itself the primary goal that will in turn generate interest in Nara. Pretty soon we will see additional characters designed to promote more specific aspects of Nara’s 13 centuries of rich history. ( 奈良 平城京 )
Since forever, Kyoto has over-shadowed Nara as the definitive destination for tourists to Japan, and the relative inaccessibility of Nara compared to its more famous neighbor has been one of the major stumbling blocks. More tour buses and a more intense Kintetsu rail schedule have been implemented to carry tourists to Nara more easily, but the success or failure of Sento-kun to generate that interest in the first place has yet to be determined.
Other than Nara City itself, must-sees in Nara include Yoshino in the South, Odaigahara Mountain for alpine hiking, Muro-ji in the fall for maple leaf observation, and Hase-dera as an alternative to Kiyomizu-dera. This picture of Sento-kun was shot at Hase-dera back in early May for the Peonia Blossoming Festival held there every year.
Nara is an extraordinary destination to drive around and hike around in. It boasts quiet, natural, out-of-the-way sights with countless back roads and millenium-old hiking trails across the prefecture.
Martin Werner Zander, Smith’s Partner
Owner, Smith’s School in Kotoen