Bank earns praise for unique way of warning customers about sneaky souls in the area.

Way before manga and anime characters existed, a different set of characters captured people’s imaginations in Japan. Known as yokai, these ghosts and goblins played starring roles in tales that were sometimes creepy, often cautionary, and always compelling, and they’re so timeless they still permeate the public consciousness today.

One place where these yokai are known to congregate is in the city of Sakaiminato, in Tottori Prefecture. Here, you’ll find around 150 of them, in statue form, along an 800-metre (0.5-mile) stretch of road called Mizuki Shigeru Road.

This is where you’ll also find one of the country’s most unusual ATMs, which is styled to look like an old folk house with a thatched roof, but that’s just the start of its many unusual features.

Looking closely, you can see a white paper lantern hanging by a window on the outside of the building. This lantern is designed to look like the Chochin-Obake, or Paper Lantern Yokai, and the crack seen in its lower part is actually its mouth.

People who walk close to this lantern, or go to sit at the wooden bench in front of it, will be surprised by a one-eyed goblin child, who appears inside the window by way of a motion sensor.

One of the most unusual features you’ll find here, though, is the signboard by the entrance, which has an important message to people using the ATM, that reads:

▼ “Never reveal your PIN, even when asked by yokai around the ATM.”

It’s a novel way for Tottori Bank, which runs the ATM in conjunction with Seven Bank, to remind people to never reveal their PIN to strangers, human or otherwise, and it’s particularly effective because according to legend, some yokai are known to take on human form.

Unfortunately, some older customers have been known to give their PIN to smooth-talking swindlers in the real world, so a sign like this is a much-appreciated gesture that’s earned praise from the public online.

It’s a move that would’ve received the seal of approval from former resident, Shigeru Mizuki, after whom Mizuki Shigeru Road is named. He’s the reason why all these yokai exist here in the first place, as he created them, transporting them out of the Japanese tales of yore and into the modern world in a series called Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro, which debuted as a manga in 1960 and an anime eight years later.

▼ Today, Mizuki’s yokai characters are given pride of place on a giant billboard outside the station.

Mizuki passed away in 2015, three years after the yokai-themed ATM was constructed, at the age of 93. While it’s sad that the legendary creator is no longer with us, it’s heartening to see that the road created in his honour, and all the yokai characters he loved, live on today, and for future generations to come.

So next time you’re looking for a place to visit in Tottori Prefecture that doesn’t involve sand dunes or Conan Town, don’t forget to add Mizuki Shigeru Road to your itinerary. And when you’re in the area, be sure to keep an eye out for those cheeky yokai that might want to know your PIN.

Sources: Twitter/@pepin0323, Twitter/@shidaeu via Net Lab
Top image: Twitter/@pepin0323
Insert images: Twitter/@pepin0323, Twitter/@shidaeu
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