Anime Pilgrims Continue to Flock to Love Live! Sunshine!! Setting City

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

As the setting of Love Live! Sunshine!!, the city of Numazu, Shizuoka continues to attract anime pilgrims. Although the final episode of the anime's second season debuted last month, anticipation remains high due to the announcement of an all-new film. Numazu is embracing an influx of anime tourists as fans flock to the city.

The city launched a stamp rally last May that brings visitors to various locations from the first season of the anime. The project has become unexpectedly popular, and the initial run of 5,000 stamp booklets sold out within a month. The campaign printed and sold a total of 20,000 booklets last year. A new design with an initial run of 10,000 booklets debuted this month.

A representative of the Numazu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in charge of planning the stamp rally said, "The number of young people walking in Numazu's shopping districts has increased. There are also people coming as parents with children." Nine shops initially participated in the stamp rally project, but about 50 shops now participate. The project staff hopes to further increase that number.

According to Numazu's tourism bureau, about 4.02 million tourists visited the city in 2015, but the number increased after Love Live! Sunshine!! premiered in 2016. The city received about 4.15 million tourists in 2016. From April to September of 2017, about 2.90 million people visited Numazu, an increase of about 570,000 people from the same period the previous year.

The city tourism information desk also received an increase in visitors. One man who recently visited the information desk with his family described how his children became interested in the anime's idol story. He started watching the show with his children and decided to take an anime pilgrimage to Numazu as a family vacation.

Namazu's official collaboration with the anime includes a variety of projects apart from the stamp rally. Voice actress Shuka Saitō became Numazu's police chief for a day on January 10. The city will host a Love Live! Sunshine!! Real Escape Game by SCRAP from March 19 to June 3.

In addition, the city is partnering with Sony and the anime for the "Numazu-shi x Love Live! Sunshine!! Numazu no Takara" project. The project is holding a crowdfunding campaign to fund production of nine manhole covers featuring the faces of the Aquors idols. As of the posting of this article, the campaign has reached 142% of its goal and still has 11 days left to collect funds.

Source: The Asahi Shimbun (常松鉄雄) via Yaraon!

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