HIKONE, Shiga -- A regional license plate featuring popular Hikone mascot Hikonyan will be issued here for motorcycles and some small vehicles from Oct. 1.
Such local license plates, called "gotochi" plates in Japanese, feature special background designs, such as famous locations or local characters.
The Hikonyan license plate measures 10 centimeters by 20 centimeters -- three centimeters wider than a common license plate. The design of the plate, which has Hikonyan's face printed on the surface, was selected by popular vote by residents and others involved in the selection process. The background color is white for motorcycles under 50cc, yellow for those from 50cc to 90cc, pink for those from 90cc to 125cc, and blue for the microcar category including motorized trikes.
The tax affairs division of Hikone city hall in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, will accept advance applications for the plates between Sept. 18 and 28. A lottery will be held to assign the numbers, and the plates will be issued from 8:30 a.m. on Oct, 1, at the office and at the city hall's Inae Branch Office. From Oct. 2, the newly designed plates will be issued in the order of applications received.
For more information, contact the tax affairs division of Hikone city hall at 0749-30-6140 (in Japanese only)
(Japanese original by Koichi Nishimura, Hikone Local Bureau)