Matsumoto, its dots, castle and frog

Traveling around Japan, I arrived in Matsumoto, a town hidden among mountains, known for being home of the famous Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, better known as “polka dot princess”. But Matsumoto it is much more than that.

The Matsumoto castle sits elegantly on the horizon, while life goes around. And it’s in this little town that the frog is considered a good luck charm.

Matsumoto castle (photo @Nick West)

The slimy, green, croaky, bug-eater amphibian has become a popular character in this land. 

You probably never heard this before, but the word kaeru, without the complications of kanji, can be interpreted in more than one way.

かえる (Kaeru) = Frog 🐸
かえる(kaeru) = to return home 

And taking advantage of this happy coincidence, Matsumoto locals use the Frog (kaeru) to personify this “praying”, because they want good things to return (kaeru). Besides, who wouldn’t want money, work, and health to come their way? 😊But it is in Matsumoto that this beautiful and genuine plead for compassion, to whomever deity might be in charge of Matsumoto, comes to live.

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