Rilakkuma by San-X
Rilakkuma is a bear that is made by the Japanese company San-X. He first was produced in 2003 by them. The name Rilakkuma is a combination of two Japanese words, the first part being relax and the second part being bear. Rilakkuma is said to be one of the most popular characters in Japan, while listing 5th in a survey of the character databank in Japan.
Rilakkuma first appeared in picture books called Rilakkuma Seikatsu that are produced by the San-X company but are now just as popular as the plush cuddly toys are. Rilakkuma is the most popular character by San- and there are many different products made with Rilakkuma, from hovers to food and clothes and book and video games, but the most popular are the plush toys that widly available over Japan. All the toy shops that Ive visited in Japan always have a little section of the shop dedicated to Rilakkuma. There are also several Rilakkuma stores across Japan that mainly sell all things Rilakkuma, but you will also find some of San-X other popular characters available. At the end of this post you will find some addresses to some of the Rilakkuma stores in the greater Tokyo area and some in-store photos that we took on one of our trips.
New products are often released with Rilakkuma in one way or another. Sometimes in partnership with other companies, like Lawson the convenient store. New products are more often released in conjunction with different yearly events like Christmas, Valentines Day etc. Normally theyre designed in a way to represent that season or event.
The story behind Rilakkuma is that he one day appeared in a female office worker’s apartment mysteriously, where he had decided to move in. On Rilakkuma’s back is a little zip and when you open it you find a light blue polka dot patterned material inside.
Rilakkuma favorite foods are dango, pancakes, omurice, and custard pudding. As his name states his most favourite thing to do is to relax in any way he can, which I find is a great hobby.
Rilakkuma also lives with Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori.
Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori
Korilakkuma is a small female bear. Thats where the word ko comes from, it means small or little in Japanese. Korilakkuma is light and pink and has a red button on her chest. She does not have a zip on her back like Rilakkuma. It is unclear if she is a real bear or not.
Korilakkuma, unlike Rilakkuma, has a very different personality. She is a very mischievous little bear. Her favourite foods are strawberries, apples and cherries and she loves to play with her radio controlled duck.
Kiiroitori differs from the trio being that he is a yellow chick. Kiiroitori translates to “yellow bird” in Japanese. Kiiroitori is the strict one of the three, where he often has to tell both Rilakkuma and Kiiroitori off for doing naughty things.
Kiirotiori considers himself to be the smart one of the three and has a hard working nature. He also likes to keep things nice and tidy. Kiiroitori is the apartment owner’ss pet chick. He has a cage, but leaves it when he feels like it.
There are a few Rilakkuma stores in the greater Tokyo area, most of them being inside a shopping mall or part of a bigger shop.
One of the shops I know of is the one on the Character Street in part of the shopping complex underground at the Tokyo train station. This shop is always busy it seems. It can be hard to find a product that is from a past range since things sell quick there. You also have an in-store store at KiddyLand in Harajuku. Its on the top floor. There is also a store in the newly opened Tokyo Skytree Solamachi mall which also sells Rilakkuma products that have to do with the Tokyo Skytree, something you might not find in other stores.
Our favorite store is about 20 minutes or so out from central Tokyo, near the Kichijoji station. This store is on the top floor of a large department store. Why this shop is our favourite is because its not as busy as the more central ones are, so there is more chance to find older product sfrom past ranges that might have already been sold out at the central stores in Tokyo. So if you are a die-hard fan then this store is a must.
Links and maps
Here are some links to maps to some of stores that I mentioned is this post.
Photos from Rilakkuma Store
Here some pictures from some of the stores that we have visited while on our tips to Japan.