Jumbo rabbit welcomes in New Year at Japanese shrine in Tsu

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Tatsumizu Shrine in Tsu was to welcome in the New Year with its annual “jumbo zodiac animal,” this year a rabbit, to mark 2023 as the year of the hopping critter on the Chinese zodiac.

The statue is made of a lightweight steel frame and styrofoam, measuring 3 meters in length and 2.8 meters in height, and weighing 200 kilograms. It took about 30 members of a Misatocho town association about one month to construct the piece.

On Thursday, the statue was pulled by enthusiastic local children around the shrine before being set up at the main gate.

“We hope that by hopping into [the New Year], the pandemic can be ended and the economy will pick up,” said the 74-year-old head of the association.

The jumbo rabbit is scheduled to remain on display through February.

The Yomiuri Shimbun