Will This Flying Puppy Drone Bring the Tourists to Oji in Droves?

Japanese culture Kansai Technology Travel - February 27th, 2017
flying dog

These are the kinds of questions that keep us up at night.

Say you’re a town about 20km away from Nara, and you’re trying to get people to come by and pay a visit. Building an impressive architectural masterpiece is too expensive and time-consuming, and a new amusement park might be an even bigger risk. The city of Oji has taken an unconventional approach to wooing potential tourists: a video with an aerial drone dog.

This isn’t just any flying pooch, mind you. It’s a high-flying representation of Yukimaru, the legendary canine who was a pet of the famed Prince Shotoku. This airborne canine is also the yuru-kyara for the city of Oji.

In perfect yuru-kyara style, Yukimaru serves as a trustworthy guide to the charms of the region, although he does startle a young lad who is meant to be practicing his zazen (seated meditation) at Daruma-ji, the temple that Shotoku was said to have founded, and where the body of his beloved dog remains.

In fact, that’s how the video begins. Shotoku comes back to modern times and pays a visit to Yukimaru’s memorial site, which seems to awaken the drone, which takes a tour around Oji’s sights, including Daruma-ji, Hozen-ji, and Mt. Myojin. As the folks at RocketNews24 point out, the Buddhist patriarch Bodhidharma (the inspiration behind the daruma figures that you see all around Japan) also makes an appearance here and there throughout the video.

You can check it out for yourself here:

After seeing the first clip, lest you think that this friendly pup is anything to be trifled with, the following short lets you see that Yukimaru (who just might be the first UAV yuru-kyara) sports some pretty impressive tech to go with his yuru-kyara cute.

Finally, if Yukimaru gets to continue doing his thing, we hope that this shot below is just a taste of the 360 panoramas that we’ll be seeing in the months to come:

oji-yukimaru