Interest
New Japanese Guidebook Focuses on Anime Pilgrimages

posted on 2014-01-17 13:00 EST by Eric Stimson
Plan a Studio Ghibli-themed visit, or tour the anime sites of Shinjuku

As anime are often closely modeled after real world locations, mainly in Japan, dedicated anime fans have long undergone trips (so-called "pilgrimages") to visit the inspirations for backdrops to iconic anime series and movies. Recent sites of otaku adoration include Chichibu, the setting for the romantic drama anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, and Oarai, where the girls of Girls und Panzer practice tankery. Now a guidebook, Anime Tanbou: Seichi Junrei Guide ("Anime Tours: A Holy Land Pilgrimage Guide") has been published in Japan that compiles places throughout Japan that have been featured in recent anime — 150 anime, to be exact.


Chichibu is the setting for anohana

As a sample tour, the book offers one tailored around locations related to Studio Ghibli. Starting in Aomori Prefecture in northernmost Honshu, Seibi-en, a scenic garden in the town of Hirakawa, was used as a reference for the estate in the 2010 film The Secret World of Arrietty. Tama, a large suburb west of Tokyo, is the setting for Whisper of the Heart, and a particular steep stretch of road and shrine were substantially duplicated in the film. Nearby, in Mitaka, the Ghibli Museum recreates the feel of the grand old houses commonly seen in Ghibli movies. On Shikoku, the main hall of Matsuyama's Dougo Hot Springs served as inspiration for Spirited Away's elaborate bathhouse, while Kouchi's castle and Harimaya Bridge appeared in Ghibli's television special Ocean Waves. Finally, Tamana, a town in Kyushu's Kumamoto Prefecture, features the Maeda Residence, which served as a motif for the new Ghibli film The Wind Rises.

Dougo Hot Springs was a reference for the bathhouse in Spirited Away.

If anime fans don't have the time, money, or inclination to travel all over Japan, Anime Tanbou recommends visiting Shinjuku instead. This busy district in Tokyo has the single highest concentration of anime-related sites. The massive train station is shown in Makoto Shinkai's new movie The Garden of Words, while the traffic circle outside its west exit, the Shinjuku L Tower, and the eerie public artwork "The Eye of Shinjuku" were all included in the 2011 series Is This a Zombie? A particular intersection nearby repeatedly appeared in The Devil is a Part-Timer! The notorious Kabuki Town district features in Eden of the East. Joshiraku fans will want to see the Shinjuku Suehirotei, the theater where the cast performed their rakugo.

The "Eye of Shinjuku" can be seen in the opening sequence of Is This a Zombie?

Other suggested anime tours include a Makoto Shinkai pilgrimage, a Mamoru Hosoda tour, and a Kyoto Animation vacation. Tourists less print-inclined can still opt for the app released by DIP.

[Via Denshi Navi; Images from Shashin-to Haiku-de Tojiru Kyouto-no Arekore, Matsuyama-jou-ga Daisuki!, The Art of Yoshiko Miyashita, Rolling Mawashikeri]


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