Nori, or laver is an edible seeweed cultured near the coast. Ise Bay is one of the major places where laver is cultured. From Ono Castle you can see the wooden structures for laver culture. Nori produced in Tokoname is noted for its quality and is one of the most popular souvenirs excluding lucky cats. Nori produced in Tokoname is called "Onizaki Nori".
Manekineko, also known as "lucky cats" or "beckoning cats" are cat figurines that are said to bring luck or deter ill fortune of the cat owners.
The stories on how lucky cat figurines came into existence abound. One of the most popular theories is the legend of Gotokuji Cat. Gotokuji temple is located in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. When the lord of Hikone Castle Naotaka Ii was in Edo and going around a temple for falconry he saw a cat that seems to beckon him into the temple, right after he entered the temple there's a thunder shower. Since the incident the lord and the priest of the temple became close friends and after the cat's death, the production of the figurines started.
80 percent of the lucky cat figurines come from Tokoname and Seto in Aichi and Kutani in Ishikawa are also major producers of the lucky cats.
As you can see in Tokoname Ceramic Hall, there are a various kinds of lucky cats and basic differences are as follows.
1 Raising right or left paw?
The cat raising right paw is said to bring wealth while the one raising left paw brings customers, thus brings the success of business.
2 Color of the cat
WHITE: Brings luck. Maybe safe for gifts.
RED: Deters illness and brings luck.
BLACK: Gets rid of bad luck.
GOLD: Brings money.
PINK: Finds true love.
YELLOW: Brings happy marriage.
BLUE: Steers clear of danger
GREEN: Brings academic success. Often given to students who are taking college entrance exams.
As a gift I recommend white cat because depending on culture particular color does not mean the same things to your friend. When giving lucky cat other than white colored ones, also explain what particular color of the cat denotes.