Mt. Rishiri-patterned socks proving popular as souvenirs
Socks produced by Watanabe Yuki, manager of Tanakaya Hinageshi-kan, a ryokan (Japanese-style inn) in the town of Rishirifuji on Rishiri Island in northern Hokkaido, are proving popular, as 2,000 pairs a year have been sold, even amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Sold under the name of ‘Mt. Rishiri trekking socks,’ they are popular among tourists and climbers due to a design that resembles the summit of Mt. Rishiri.
Mt. Rishiri is one of the ‘100 Famous Japanese Mountains’. The shape of the sharp mountain peak is clearly drawn on the socks. ‘Mt. Rishiri’ is printed on the toes, and its height, ‘1,721 m’ is printed on the heels. When worn with shoes, the printed letters and number are hidden, and only the shape of the mountaintop peak is visible as a stylish pattern. “I wanted to create a souvenir that could be used in everyday circumstances, and that I would want myself,” said Mr. Watanabe as recalled the socks first being made into a product eight years ago.
Many climbers stay at the Hinageshi-kan, which is located near the Mt. Rishiri trailhead. The thick socks – made of sweat-absorbing, quick-drying materials – have gradually attracted attention thanks to word of mouth and posts on social media. The socks are often worn by guests when climbing Mt. Rishiri, and are also purchased by local fishermen, who are attracted by the comfort they provide.
Due to the spread of Covid-19 infections, the number of guests at the inn is less than half of that before the pandemic but, as of October, approximately 2,000 pairs of socks have already been sold this year. “I’m surprised that, despite the pandemic, some colors have even sold out,” said Watanabe.
The socks are sold at Hinageshi-kan and other inns in Rishirifuji, as well as at the Oshidomari Ferry Terminal. Sales are also scheduled to begin via an internet site by the end of the year. The price is 1,100 yen per pair.
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