9 Anime Pilgrimages Every Fan Should Try in Japan
Seichi junrei, or pilgrimages, have been growing in popularity within the anime community. A large number of popular anime are based on real world locations in Japan, which are popular vacation spots for fans.
The locations have embraced their anime identity and host various events, have themed shops, and offer tours. If you find yourself in Japan, try making a stop at some of these popular locations!
1. Washinomiya Shrine – Lucky Star
Kasukabe City sees large numbers of Lucky Star fans every year since it is the setting for the series. One the biggest tourist spots is the Washinomiya Shrine, which is called the Takanomiya Shrine in Lucky Star.
It’s one of the oldest and biggest shrines in the Kanto region while serving as the Hiiragi sisters’ home in Lucky Star. Events are held at the shrine, with the most popular one being held during the New Year.
2. Toyosato Elementary School – K-On!
Located in Toyosato, Shiga Prefecture, this former elementary school was used as the inspiration for Sakuragaoka High School. Prior to K-On!, the residents decided to convert the grounds into a local museum. Toyosato Elementary School now doubles as a K-On! shrine that is easy to visit and take a million pictures
3. Tachikawa, Tokyo – A Certain Magical Index
Academy City is the backdrop for A Certain Magical Index. It’s based on Tachikawa and Tama City, which are both cities are in the western Tokyo Metropolis. Fans visit both areas to see famous landmarks from the anime and visit themed shops!
Tachikawa has also been featured in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Persona 4, and Gatchaman Crowds. You’ll find all kinds of fans wondering the streets.
4. Yuwaku Hot Spring – Hanasaku Iroha
Yuwaku Hot Spring was the inspiration behind the hot spring inn Kissuisō, which serves as Hanasaku Iroha‘s primary setting. In fact, the city of Kanazawa is represented in the anime!
The city is visited by Hanasaku Iroha fans so much, that the locals have been hosting the fictional Bonbori Festival every October since 2011.
5. Takehara, Hiroshima – Tamayura ~Hitotose~
Takehara is a small city in Hiroshima Prefecture and serves as the setting for Tamayura ~Hitotose~. The idyllic city doesn’t get as many tourists as other anime pilgrimage sites, which makes it perfect for people looking for a quiet get-away. As a bonus, Takehara’s Special Historic District is considered one of the most scenic towns in Japan.
6. Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture – Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Chichibu City serves as the setting for Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. Notable locations include the Chichibu Bridge and the Jorinji Temple. If you manage to visit Chichibu during the spring, you can see a beautiful field of colorful flowers in bloom at Hitsujiyama Park.
7. Takayama, Gifu Prefecture – Hyouka
Takayama was the hometown of Hyouka creator Yonezawa Honobu. In a way, the city is as much a star of the series as Hōtarō Oreki and Eru Chitada. The city also hands out a Hyouka centric tourist map, which includes directions to locations like Kamiyama Shrine and Cafe Hifumi.
8. Ōarai, Ibaraki Prefecture – Girls und Panzer
The rural town of Ōarai is home to the very popular Girls und Panzer anime. Ōarai has embraced the pilgrimage label, with various shops proudly displaying cutouts and panels of various cast members. The Ōarai Isosaki Shrine displays wooden tablets with Girls und Panzer drawings from visitors.\
9. Hida, Gifu Prefecture – Your Name
Hida has seen an explosion of tourists thanks to the success of Your Name. The fictional rural town of Itomori, which is where heroine Mitsuha lives, was based on Hida. The city offers tours that make stops to some of the iconic locations from the movie, such as Hida City Library and the Suga Shrine.
What anime pilgrimage would you love to go on?