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Travel & Leisure

Giant squid statue defies critics, pays off 22-fold for Japan town

Roadside attraction funded by COVID relief put community on the map, officials say

Tourists from around Japan came to Noto to see the Squid King statue over the summer. (Photo by Takumi Sasaki)

KANAZAWA, Japan -- A rural Japanese town's decision to spend COVID-19 relief money on a giant squid monument has been vindicated, officials say, pointing to estimates that tourists pumped roughly 22 times its cost into the local economy.

Named Ika Kingu, or Squid King, the 13-meter long, 4-meter tall monument sits outside a roadside tourist center in coastal Noto, a shrinking community of 15,000 people with few claims to fame besides local seafood.

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