During my pre-travel Hirosaki Googling, I came across a photo called “hirosaki-swastika-manhole,” which briefly caused me to consider if we were going to a – shall we say – friendly town. If you follow the link, or look below, you may note – as we did – that the swastika is backwards, and is, in fact, not a swastika.

To be accurate, it is a swastika, just a left-facing one. As Wikipedia points out, the symbol predates Nazism by centuries, was introduced by Hindu Asians and used to be a sign of good luck.

Nonetheless, the presence of these, um, charms throughout Hirosaki, which rich in Buddhist tradition, is thorough. But we’ve stopped thinking about it. Anyhow, some exemplars: