“My older brother is a super hero,” my yoga teacher told me one afternoon when we were catching up after class. I was skeptical, but it turns out his elder brother is the warm-hearted Ibaraiger, a masked and suited champion of wholesome lifestyle choices in Ibaraki Prefecture.
In Japan, many cities and prefectures have “local heroes”, costumed champions that serve the public by encouraging people to take pride in their region, obey traffic laws and mind the environment. They’re cool, cute and ready for action, too, battling personified social and environmental villains.
In October, superheroes and mascot characters from all over Japan meet in Chiba City for a two-day festival where you can see them perform in martial arts combat, tug of war completions, wrestling matches, and photo shoots. Bring your autograph book and camera to capture the action in this carnival of fun, quirky and sometimes weird characters.
The first day of the event, meet the heroes at Globo Shopping Center, conveniently located close to Soga Station. If you miss the first day, catch the action the next day at the neighboring T-Joy entertainment complex and Ario Shopping Center. If you see him say hi to my yoga teacher’s older superhero brother for me.
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You will see many of my stories on Japan Travel are about places and events outside of big city centers and tourist destinations. While I highly recommend the big name sights and experiences, I encourage visitors to see and feel the atmosphere off the beaten path, too.