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A Photo Guide to the Real-Life Locations in Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki

by Ken Iikura-Gross,

With the newly premiered season of Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki, we decided to explore the real-life locations in Japan. Much of Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki takes place in Saitama Prefecture, mainly around JR Omiya Station. Let's look at some of the iconic real-life locations from the series' first season.

Higashi-Iwatsuki


Out on the Toubu Urban Park Line—known to older locals as the Toubu Noda Line—near Higashi-Iwatsuki Station lies one of the central locations: the school attended by the main characters, Fumiya Tomozaki and Aoi Hinami. The name of the real-life school has been redacted, but much like in the anime, the school is no more than a 10-minute walk from the station. Even some places Fumiya and his friend pass on their way to and from school exist and are not just made up for the series.
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Also prominently featured, especially in the eye catches before the commercial breaks, is Higashi-Iwatsuki Station. Most of them are taken on the platforms, but the convenience store seen in episode 7 is right by the station.

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JR Omiya Station


If the school Fumiya and company attend is the main setting, then it can be said that areas in and around JR Omiya Station are a major secondary setting. It's almost safe to say that the Mame no Ki (豆の木), or Bean Poll—a common meeting spot for locals—fills up much of the time spent in Omiya Station.
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That's not to say we don't get to see other locations inside the station. Unfortunately, some spots were inside the Lumine department store. However, the Green Peace Garden seen in episode 9 is one of the few locations within the department store that are available for photos.

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And of course, who can forget the few locations on the platforms and concourses in Omiya Station? In the episode, we see Fumiya sitting on platform 19-20 as he waits for the JR Saikyo Line train heading to Shinjuku—or if it connects to the Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit Rinkai Line, Shinkiba. We also see the Northern Concourse in episode 5 after Fumiya, Aoi, YUZU Izumi, and Takeshir Mizusawa bought birthday gifts for Shuji Nakamura.
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There are also a few locations around the East Exit of Omiya Station, but surprisingly not many around the Minami Giza area, on the southern end of the area. It makes a bit of sense as the area is primarily filled with bars and hostess clubs, but the karaoke shop and the restaurant Fuka Kikuchi works at are in that general area. Where the younger people tend to congregate, though, is the northern end, which was recently redeveloped and is still in the process of redevelopment.
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Unlike the East Exit, there are a plethora of locations on the pedestrian walkway around the West Exit of Omiya Station. Prominently featured in the promotional poster for the first season is Omiya Sogo and the surrounding areas, but, for the most part, the Arche building and surrounding areas are the main features of Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki.
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Kita-Yono


For many foreign nationals, Kita-Yono can be stressful as it's one of the stations nearest the Saitama branch of the National Immigration Office. For Fumiya and Minami Nanami, though, it's home. While the exact location of their respective houses can't be pinpointed, we can walk the path they take to get home. And, of course, there's the small park seen in a handful of episodes and the eye-catch in episode 6—located right by the immigration office.
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One can't forget the major plot point that occurred in episode 11 when Fumiya and Aoi have a slight falling out. While one would think it would be difficult to locate the exact bench the two were sitting on in JR Kita-Yono Station, we can determine it through a few clues. The big one being they're facing the Shinkansen Line that runs parallel to the Saikyo Line between JR Omiya Station and JR Akabane Station. On top of this, we see the end of the platform is to the right of Fumiya, and the stairs going to the exit are to the left of Hinami. Leaving only two benches to choose from: the benches closest to JR Omiya Station.

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Ikebukuro Station and Hanno City


It may seem odd to place these two locations together, but they're intertwined within Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki. For instance, when Fumiya, Aoi, and their friend traveled to Hanno City in episodes 10 and 11, they went to JR Ikebukuro Station and transferred to the Seibu Laview Limited Express. Realistically, this is quite out of the way. It is possible to reach Hanno via the JR Kawagoe Line from Omiya (which is an extension of the Saikyo Line) and transfer to the Hachiko Line (no relation to the statue in Shibuya) at JR Kawagoe Station to JR Higashi-Hanno Station. But taking the scenic route makes sense for high school students, considering it costs about the same in total.
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While there are only two locations around Seibu Hanno Station, the campsite visited by the characters is a different story. It is located about 45 minutes by bus towards Yu no Sawa (湯の沢), and a five-minute walk from Renkei Bashi (連慶橋) bus station. The real-life Kenny's Family Village Auto Campground is depicted as it appears in the anime. In fact, when speaking with Mr. Hiroto Taniai and some of the staff, they expressed pleasant surprise upon hearing about and seeing the campgrounds featured in the series. While the staff was happy to see Kenny appear in the series, they did stress that pilgrims are welcome but would appreciate it if they used the facility. And what fan wouldn't want to BBQ where Fumiya and company did?

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One other location visited by the characters while staying at Kenny's is the Sawarabi no Yu (さわらびの湯). Since this is a bathhouse, taking pictures inside the establishment wasn't possible. What can be said, though, is the men's baths are slightly different from what's seen in the anime, and I cannot speak for the women's bath as I am a cisgender male. What's remarkable about the location is the walk from the campsite to the bathhouse appears relatively short in the anime when, in fact, it takes roughly 20-30 minutes depending on your pace. So, in the middle of summer or when it's humid out, you'll work up a decent sweat both ways.

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Other Areas


Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki featured several other locations around stations on the JR Saikyo Line. Chief among them is the pedestrian walkway by JR Musashi Urawa Station, inside JR Toda Koen Station, the Saitama Prefectural Toda Park across the street from Boat Race Toda where Fumiya and Fuka go on a date, JR Kounosu Station on the Takasaki Line where Aoi, Minami, and Hanabi Natsubayashi went to in episode 13 for a fireworks festival and not to get their driver's licenses (as this is the only place in Saitama Prefecture to obtain one), to the ever-popular Hachiko statue in Shibuya, the WWW X Store in Shibuya, and the now Lipps salon where Fumiya and Fuka went after seeing a movie.
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It'll be fun to see what real-life locations appear in the second season of Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki. And we've seen a few already in the most recent promotional video, such as the arcade located on the northern end of JR Omiya Station's East Exit. I just hope I don't see my house in the series.


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