Traveling around Japan requires money, energy, and days off work. If you can't afford to spare those things, maybe sending a beloved stuffed bear in your stead is the next best thing?
That's the theory behind Unagi Travel, a tour agency for stuffed animals. For $35 to $55 a pop, your plush toy can visit Japanese hot springs, temples, and beaches. You'll have to fund their trip to Japan, but Unaqi takes care of the return voyage. Your buddy will also receive a commemorative DVD filled with travel photos.
Already, 200 stuffed animals have "participated," and the agency is gearing up for trips to Tokyo and a "mystery" destination. It just shared a photo of new arrivals today.
Admittedly, this whole thing sounds kind of silly. But 38-year-old founder Sonoe Azuma argues these tours can inspire reluctant travelers. Azuma points to one 51-year-old woman, whose illness made it difficult to walk. She was motivated to rehabilitate her legs after seeing her stuffed animal traveling.
Azuma says the tours have also cheered families who had recently lost a loved one, and helped prepare a child for independence from his stuffed animal upon starting school.
And as the following photos show, the tours are thoroughly planned and, well, heartwarming.
All images from Unagi Travel's Facebook page.