Now, you can send your favorite stuffed animal on a vacation to Europe or the Onsen hot springs in Japan – without you.
For the past three years, Sonoe Azuma, 38, has successfully operated Unagi Travel, a Tokyo-based travel agency that takes stuffed animals on tours around the world.
Interested clients select which tour to send their favorite plush toys on – like the Tokyo Tour for $45 or the Kyoto Tour for $95 – and then mail them at their own expense to Tokyo.
Unagi frequently posts picture updates to Facebook, so clients can keep updated on their stuffed animals’ travel status and whereabouts. The entire process usually takes two to three weeks, with the return shipping covered by Unagi.
Unagi has sent stuffed animals to places throughout Japan, Europe and the United States.
Apparently, some clients have even reported therapeutic benefits to sending their stuffed animals on a solo trip.
According to a Japan News article, a woman who was unable to walk due to illness became inspired to work to rehabilitate her legs after she saw photos of her stuffed animal on one of the Unagi tours.
“Seeing my stuffed animal traveling encouraged me,” said the woman. “I began to think that I should do what I can do, instead of lamenting over things that I can’t.”
Meanwhile, other clients reported feeling happier and inspired to try new things after seeing their favorite plush toys traveling the world.
For more information, check out Unagi’s English-language site, unagi-travel.net.