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Coming from the UK, I was always both amused and envious whenever I saw car registration plates during visits to the US. Every one I saw had a little state-specific design or message etched into it, whereas all plates in the UK are the same: dull black letters and numbers on a yellow background. The same can be said about plates in Japan, although the names of larger towns and prefectures in which the vehicle is registered are also shown above the row of numbers.

The town of Kotoura in Japan’s Tottori Prefecture, however, just blew even America’s plates out of the water with this über cute design, which features a portly cow, a pair of frolicking flying fish, and one of the town’s mascot characters holding the produce the area is famous for.

Sadly, the plate is reportedly limited to bikes with engines smaller than 50CC and small agricultural and industry-use vehicles in the area, but those whose vehicles are eligible can switch to the new kawaii plates for free. The town is also giving the first 100 adopters the chance to buy a commemorate plate with a special “welcome” (in Japanese or English) message on it for just 800 yen (US$8) when the plates launch next month.

We might not have a chance of getting one for ourselves, but this is definitely the kind of thing we’d like to see more of in Japan, and not just on otaku-driven ita-sha!

▼ Perfect for the front door of a local business, perhaps?

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▼ I keep forgetting my registration number. I know it had a 1 in it…

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Source: Kotoura Town via Netorabo