Travel Japan Through Your Teddy Bear

Travel around the world sounds like a good idea.  Many of us can’t for various reasons.  Is it possible to travel around the world through your stuffed animals?

Tokyo-based Unagi Travel is offering a very specific type of clientele: For as little as US$35 (not including the cost of the trip to Japan) a person can send their favorite stuffed animal on a specially-designed tour, where it will join other stuffed animals on visits to various real-world destinations.

Unagi Travel has already granted dream vacations for over 200 stressed stuffed animals. You’ll get updates of your toy’s trip through Facebook photos, allowing you to live vicariously through your teddy bear or stuffed hippo.  The company’s website states that  your toy can enjoy a trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, Tohoku, or even an intriguing “mystery tour.”

Some people gain a lot from the experience. According to Japan News, 51-year-old woman’s (from Saga Prefectureter) heath declined and walking became difficult she became a recluse, but that changed after she sent her animal abroad.

The travel agency gives tours not to you but to your favorite plush toy. One can’t help but remember the movie "Amelie," in which a garden gnome disappears from a front yard and mysteriously appears in photos taken at tourist sites around the globe. Well, now movie script has turned into a reality.  That is give your teddy a grand adventure while you sit at home. Talk about a toy story.

The unique service goes like this: Head to the Unagi Travel website and book your toy's tour. Price points are reasonable, but you pay for shipping to Japan. They send your toy back for free.

Prices range from $35 to $55 for the guided tours to Tokyo, a trip to onsen (hot springs), or a "mystery tour" where the destination is revealed only at the last minute.

Sonoe Azuma, the founder of Unagi Travel, has clearly tapped into something bigger than just a cutesy idea. The Facebook page for Unagi travel is filled with glowing reviews and scores of people who plan to use the service in the future.

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