Gotochi Kitty are little Hello Kitty charms that can be bought all over Japan. The special catch is that each region of Japan has Kitty charms that are particular to their area (which is what gotochi means). So for example, the Gotochi Kitty charm that represents Tokyo Tower can (ideally) only be bought within Tokyo, and if you’re a really die-hard Gotochi fan, you would only purchase it from Tokyo Tower. Of course, I’ve seen various Gotochi Kitty charms out of their “element.” For example, I’ve seen charms meant specifically for Tokyo in my prefecture, which is the prefecture just North of Tokyo. I’m not sure if there is any kind of rule about where each Kitty charm can be sold, but the point of course is that you travel all over Japan to get these different charms. (Hopefully you have some other reasons besides Kitty charms for traveling, of course!)
Anyway, as you may have guessed, I have been collecting these since I started living in Japan. I only buy them if I’ve been to the particular place they are meant to represent, and I try to make sure they represent something I actually saw, did, or ate at that place. For example, when I went to Osaka, there were many different kinds of charms, including one representing Takoyaki (fried doughy balls filled with octopus) since I don’t like Takoyaki and did not try it in Osaka, I opted for the okonomiyaki (a sort of Japanese pancake I know I’ve mentioned before because I LOVE IT) kitty charm instead, since I did, in fact, eat okonomiyaki in Osaka. I’ve been given a few as gifts, which is nice in theory but of course I hope I can actually go to the places that these charms represent someday!
Anyway, here is my collection so far!
This is from Mt Fuji area. I haven’t actually been to Mt. Fuji yet, but I went to Fuji Q Highlands, the roller coaster park right next to Mt. Fuji.
I just got this one in Nagano when I went there for the soccer tournament. I’m not sure why she’s hanging on a water droplet.
This one is from Osaka, because okonomiyaki is a famous dish there.
This is from Nikko, and represents the sleeping cat carving at Nikkō Tōshō-gū Shrine.
This one is from Hokkaido, and Hello Kitty is wearing a marimo suit, which is type of algae that apparently grows in lakes in Hokkaido.
Another one from Mt. Fuji, although this one was a gift from someone.
This one represents the great Buddha at Kamakura.
I got this one when I went to Niigata for the Fuji Rock festival. I think it’s supposed to be a grain of rice or wheat but I can’t be sure…I love it though. I think this is my favorite.
I just got this on in Takasaki, which has the awesome Daruma temple I just posted about.
The following two are from Kyoto. The first one is for Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion, and the second one represents a geiko (known to most Westerners as geisha).
This next one was also a gift and I’m not sure where it’s from. I think they are sweet potatoes but I can’t be sure. *UPDATE* They’re not sweet potatoes–they’re natto! One of Japan’s most difficult treats for foreigners to enjoy (myself included). This one is sold in Ibaraki prefecture.
This one is from Tochigi, which is famous for its gyoza.
This cute little deer is from Nara.
Another gift, and again I’m not sure where it’s from or what it is. Also the strap part is totally different than the typical charm, so that’s a little curious…*UPDATE* Thanks to a poster below, I now know this one is from Hakone and is a black boiled egg! These are eggs that have been boiled in the hot springs in Hakone!
This one is from the Sky Tree in Tokyo.
I got this one in Yokohama, which has a rather large China Town.
Another gift, I’m pretty sure this one represent a kokeshi doll, a traditional Japanese doll.
And these last three were a gift I received just yesterday. Unlike my other ones, these have a little phone jack thingy on the end so they can be put into the phone jack as an accessory. Apparently they are exclusive to a department store here in Japan.
And here is the website where you can look into Gotochi Kitty a little more (although it’s in Japanese, you can still browse around!). If you want to see all the different charms, click on the second purple button up at the top, and then you’ll see a (rather crude) colorful map of Japan. Click on each little square/rectangle to see various charms specific to certain regions, as well as other products.
(Side note: I typically try to stay away from buying “things” like this because, honestly, what do you do with these kinds of things? If I bought every little cute thing I found here in Japan, I’d have 27 suitcases to bring back with me when I move home. Anyway, at least they’re small, relatively cheap, and I figure they will be a nice touch to my future classroom.)