A “pilgrimage to a sacred place” is a visit to a place that has been the setting of an anime.
Not only anime fans in Japan, but recently, anime fans overseas are also taking notice.
The sight of the beloved world of anime as a reality right in front of your eyes is a moving experience in itself.
Let us introduce you to some of Japan’s anime meccas.
Popular among anime fans! What are the hottest anime holy sites?
Pilgrimage to “sacred places” has become a popular activity among anime fans.
Visiting the places where the anime took place, posing for pictures with the characters, eating the same food they ate, and even cosplaying will make you feel even more excited.
In addition, recently, the land has been attracting tourists by promoting the fact that it is a sacred place, which also contributes to the tourism business.
If you are a fan, you want to visit a sacred place at least once.
If you have actually been there before, you can look back on the anime and say, “Oh, that’s the place! and you will be able to enjoy it even more.
In this article, we will introduce some of the places that are perfect for pilgrimages to sacred places that were the setting for the anime.
Tomakomai City, Hokkaido: Bokudake ga inai machi
In “Bokutoku Dake ga Missing Town,” the main character, suffering from time leap ability, goes back to his elementary school days, where he is confronted with a kidnapping and murder case.
The work, which combines science fiction and suspense, was adapted from manga to anime and has gained even more fans.
The story takes place in Tomakomai City, Hokkaido.
You can actually see the “Shimizu Pedestrian Bridge” where the main character Satoru tries to get rid of his classmate Kayo’s mother, the “Tomakomai Science Center” where Satoru has a date with Kayo, and the “Tomakomai Ekimae Dori Shopping Street” where Satoru and Kenya walk after their class reunion in the last episode.
Touring these sacred places may give you the same thrilling feeling as Satoru and his friends.
We hope you will visit these places for sightseeing as well.
Tatebayashi City, Gunma Prefecture : A Place Farther Away Than the Universe
Sora yori mo Tooi Basho which means “A Place Farther Than the Universe” is an anime about four high school girls who go to the South Pole.
It may seem far-fetched at first glance, but the script is so well thought out that it was selected as one of the 10 best foreign programs in the “2018 Most Outstanding TV Shows” category by the “New York Times”.
The setting is Tatebayashi City in Gunma Prefecture.
It is where the main character Tamaki Mari and her friends lived, and you can see the “East Exit of Tatebayashi Station,” which appears several times in the scene where Kimari is about to leave Tatebayashi City, the “Big Tanuki” in the rotary at the east exit of the station that appears in the title background of the first anime episode, and the “New Miyako Hotel Tatebayashi,” which was the model for the hotel where Shiraishi Yuzuki stayed.
There are many places to see in Tatebayashi.
Most of these places can be reached by public transportation, so fans are encouraged to visit.
Wako, Saitama Prefecture: Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata
Saerenai Kanojo no Nuturekata” is an anime adaptation of a light novel.
A movie version will be screened in 2019, and it is supported by enthusiastic fans in Japan and abroad.
It is set in Wako, Saitama Prefecture.
The hotel “Jefferson Wago” where the main characters, Rinya Aki and Shiba Kasumigaoka, stayed together was modeled after “Toyoko INN Wako Ekimae”.
If you go to the trouble, we recommend staying there.
Seseragi Park appeared in episode 6 of the anime.
The playground equipment and surrounding scenery in the park almost match the anime.
Wako City is a sacred place that is easy to reach from the Kanto region.
Fans and even those who have seen a bit of the anime are encouraged to visit.
Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture: Yama no Susume
YAMANOSUME” is an anime adaptation of a manga about high school girls who try their hand at mountain climbing.
Many anime fans have started mountain climbing or become outdoorsy because of this anime.
The setting is Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture.
You can visit “Yumesaika Suzuki,” a long-established confectionery store that served as the model for the heroine Aoi Yukimura’s part-time job; “Tenranzan,” the mountain that Aoi Yukimura climbed for the first time as a high school student; and the Hanno City Library, where Kaede Saito was taken by her classmate Yuka Sasahara.
Due to the nature of the work, this may involve hiking or climbing.
If you intend to make a pilgrimage to all of the sites, be sure to do your research beforehand, including whether or not you will need equipment to enter the mountains.
Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture: SLAM DUNK
Slam Dunk” is one of Japan’s most popular anime.
It is a basketball anime serialized and animated in Weekly Shonen Jump.
Many boys and girls started playing basketball because of “Slam Dunk,” and it continues to have a profound influence on young people.
The setting of Slam Dunk is Kamakura City in Kanagawa Prefecture.
The most talked about place is the “crossing in front of Kamakura High School Station” where Sakuragi meets Haruko.
Be sure to take pictures when the Enoden train is passing by.
Other places to see include “Kamakura High School,” the model for Ryonan High School, “Musashino-Kita High School,” the model for Shohoku High School, and Enoshima Island, where the final scene takes place.
Touring the sacred sites may revive the passion for basketball that you felt when watching the anime.
Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture: Zetsuen no Tempest
Tempest in the Garden” is a fantasy anime in which two boys, Masahiro Fuwa and Yoshino Takigawa, fight for the survival of the world.
Although it is a fantasy, it also has a strong element of mystery, making it a popular work that still has a strong fan base.
It is set in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture.
There are many scenes that appear in the anime, including “Fujisawa Station South Exit” in the opening episode, “Takanashi Store” in Act 2, and “Kamakura High School Station Intersection” in Act 7.
Fujisawa City has also been selected as one of the five locations in the 2020 edition of “88 Japanese Anime Holy Places to Visit.
It is also possible to enjoy the city together with pilgrimages to other anime holy sites.
Don’t forget to do your research in advance to find out what other sacred sites are available!
Hakone Town, Kanagawa Prefecture: Evangelion
Evangelion is a science fiction anime that has become a social phenomenon.
Set in the near future when a catastrophe has occurred, the story depicts the battle between boys and girls who become pilots of the giant general-purpose humanoid battle weapon “Evangelion” and the mysterious enemy “Apostles” that attack the Third New Tokyo City.
The location of the Third New Tokyo City and the Nerf headquarters is Hakone Town in Kanagawa Prefecture.
There are many sacred spots, including “Hakone-Yumoto Station” where the battle against the 4th Apostle Sakiel took place, “Togendai Ropeway” where armed gondolas were used for the defense line, “Ookedani” where Shinji, who ran away from home, visited, and “Hakone Town Sengokuhara Elementary School” which became the model for the 3rd New Tokyo City’s Daiichi Middle School that Shinji and his friends attend.
Shinji and his friends attend the school.
In addition, there are three Lawson stores in Hakone named after Evangelion cities, where you can buy Evangelion merchandise.
There are too many places to visit in a single day, so fans are encouraged to stay at a hotel and make a pilgrimage to the sacred sites.
Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture: Summer Wars
In “Summer Wars,” the main character Kenji, who has genius math skills, goes to the home of his senior, Natsuki, whom he admires.
This animated film is a perfect blend of science fiction, the world of the Internet, and a rural atmosphere.
The setting is Natsuki’s parents’ home in Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture.
In the animation, the actual scenery is depicted as it is.
The “Marumadorimu” train is the model for the “Marumadorimu” train, Natsuki’s parents’ house is modeled after “Ueda Castle,” and the Ueda City Hall and the bus stop at Iseyama are also used as they are in the anime.
Ueda City has a nostalgic rural landscape, and director Hosoda says that the natural scenery of Ueda City is a tourist resource.
For those who were born and raised in the city, the original Japanese landscape of Ueda City may seem fresh.
If you want to experience the atmosphere of the anime, please visit in the summer.
You will definitely get excited when you actually visit the sacred places that became the stage of the anime!
You will be able to enjoy the works even more.
When visiting, be sure to check the place you want to visit well in advance before you go.
Most of the places that have become sacred places can also be fully enjoyed as sightseeing spots.
If you have extra time, you can still enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Be sure to observe good manners and try to make the anime a favorite among the locals.