This was heavily inspired by my trip to Tohoku Region last November 2020:
Information about the Japanese elements:
1) Yahiko Shrine's Torii Gate ⛩
Did you know “Torii” (鳥居) symbolizes the separation / boundary between the ordinary space and the sacred space of the shrine? The Torii gate that Kiki drew is based on Yahiko Shrine's torii gate design.
2) Okiagari koboshi
Okiagari-koboshi or Okiagari-kobōshi (起き上がり小法師, getting-up little boy) is a Japanese traditional doll. The toy is made from papier-mâché and is a roly-poly toy, designed so that its weight causes it to return to an upright position if it is knocked over. Okiagari-kobōshi is considered a good-luck charm and a symbol of perseverance and resilience. (source: wikipedia)
3) Blue Matsukawa Daruma doll from Osaki Hachimangu Shrine
This daruma is extra special because it has more “luck elements” than the usual daruma. Compared to the regular red daruma, this Matsukawa daruma has big eyes so it can watch over / protect the family as it can see anywhere.
Akabeko (赤べこ, Akabeko, red cow) is a legendary cow from the Aizu region of Japan, who inspired a traditional toy. Aizu legend claims that the toys are based on a real cow used to build the Enzō-ji temple of Yanaizu in the ninth century.
Over time, people came to believe that the toys could ward off smallpox and other illnesses. Akabeko has become one of Fukushima Prefecture's most famous crafts and a symbol of the Aizu region. It has also been recognized as a symbol of the larger Tōhoku region, of which Fukushima Prefecture is a part. (source: wikipedia)
5) Kokeshi dolls (Naruko Onsen Style)
Kokeshi (こけし, 小芥子), are simple wooden dolls with no arms or legs that have been crafted for more than 150 years as a toy for children. Japanese dolls, originally from the northeastern region (Tōhoku-chihō / Tohoku region) of Japan. (source: wikipedia)
The kokeshi illustration is inspired by the Naruko Onsen style of kokeshi dolls (my favorite). More info / trivia here.