The town of Nara is a beloved tourist destination, thanks to its historical importance and a few four-legged friends (or fiends if you don’t give up those crackers) that roam freely around. Buddhist temples and deer are what Nara is most known for, and interestingly, the town also has two official mascots.

It’s not outlandish for such a famous area to have two mascots to its name, but in the case of Nara, it’s the unintended consequence of the town’s misguided attempt at creating a lovable character that reflects Nara’s two most famous features. Combining Buddhist tradition with a deer, they came up with Sento-kun.

But the finished result didn’t really represent either of those things, and the big reveal of the antlered baby-face was met with mixed reviews, to put it mildly. The poor mascot was even accused of being blasphemous.

Luckily, the town weren’t cruel enough to do away with the much-derided Sento-kun and the Government of Nara Prefecture stood by their creation. Meanwhile, the Nara City Tourist Association hastily created their own character which ticked all the saccharine cute boxes expected of a Japanese town mascot, a deer called Shikamaro-kun.

Due to this initial controversy, Sento-kun has developed his own cult following and continues doing his thing despite what the haters may say. However, it’s the more conventionally cute character, Shikamaro-kun, who has been selected as inspiration for this new Nara souvenir sheet mask. Makes sense really if you think about it.

So if you’re more of a Shikamaro-kun fan, you can wear his face for 15 to 20 minutes, while giving your face a boost of moisture! The product contains Japanese ingredients which boast a beneficial effect on skin, such as sake, yuzu and persimmon leaf.

Each mask costs 500 yen and can be found in Nara’s souvenir shops, as well as various online stores such as Amazon and Rakuten. Fans of Sento-kun can only hope that their chance will come soon to wear his face and reap the moisturising benefits.

By - Jess.