Each member of the lineup highlights a different part of the country, saluting local culture and traditions. Five new designs have just gone on sale, starting with Nara, which features the prefecture’s temples, Great Buddha statue and tame deer, which are considered messengers of the Shinto gods.
Many overseas visitors may not be familiar with Tochigi Prefecture by name, but its mountains are where you’ll find the town of Nikko and its gorgeous shrines, as well as the famous “see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” monkeys. More recently, Tochigi’s capital, Utsunomiya, has earned a reputation for making the tastiest gyoza (pot stickers) in Japan, so the Tochigi cup also shows a couple digging into plates of the delicious dumplings.
Moving on to Gifu, Starbucks resists the temptation to cash in on the landlocked prefecture’s connection to anime smash hit Your Name, and instead goes with a scene of cormorant fishing on the Nagara River, in which the fast-swimming birds catch fish for their human handlers in a centuries-old tradition.
Two prefectures on the southwestern island of Kyushu also join the Japan Geography Series: Nagasaki, which gives a nod to its international heritage with depictions of a Chinese-style dragon dance and Western-inspired architecture from the 19th century…
…and Oita, which boasts the hot spring resorts of Beppu and Yufuin, and so fills its design with steamy onsen baths.
Mugs are on sale now, priced at ¥1,800 (US$17), as are tumblers, which just a little ore at ¥2,000. At the top of the line are the ¥4,200 stainless steel bottles, which are scheduled to go on sale May 14, 2018—except for the Nagasaki bottle, which for some reason won’t be available until late July. The designs will be offered in limited quantities outside their prefectures, but the most certain way to get them is to travel to their respective parts of the country while seeing Japan’s real-world geography too!
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