Entertainment

Japanese travel agency is tailored to toys

Faith Braverman Contributor

Japan has given us many gifts over the years: sushi, anime, and 300 tons of toxic waste into the ocean per day. Now, for a mere $20-95, you can send your cuddle companion  on a trip to the land of the rising sun.

Unagi Travel, possibly the most adorable travel agency ever, has already granted dream vacations for over 200 stressed stuffed animals. You’ll get updates of your toy’s trip through Facebook photos, allowing you to live vicariously through your teddy bear or stuffed hippo. According to the company’s website, your toy can enjoy a trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, Tohoku, or even an intriguing “mystery tour.” (The cheapest option.)

Whatever your reason for wanting to use Unagi’s services, some people gain a lot from the experience. Japan News tells the story of one 51-year-old woman from Saga Prefecture.  After her heath declined and walking became difficult she became a recluse, but that changed after she sent her animal abroad. “Seeing my stuffed animal traveling encouraged me,” said the woman. “I began to think that I should do what I can do, instead of lamenting over things that I can’t.”

In the Kanto region, a woman confined to a wheelchair frequently purchases trips from Unagi.

I would say 40 percent of my business is repeat customers,” Unagi founder Sonoe Azuma told Japan News. One of the weirder reviews states, ” I’m worried about changing jobs, but I enjoy interacting with strangers whom I met through my stuffed animal.”

Sonoe Azuma has clearly tapped into something bigger than just a cutesy idea. The Facebook page for Unagi travel is filled with glowing reviews and scores of people who plan to use the service in the future.