Here are top places sure to make you reminisce your favorite animes and make you feel like being a part of the show.
Anime culture is an integral part of Japanese culture. It has been popular for as long as I can remember, mostly for its breathtaking visuals and intriguing characters. In addition, anime fan culture is huge, leading to fan fictions, animated shorts created by followers, and endless online discourse. As animes have become increasingly popular over quarantine and through social media platforms, it’s no surprise that fans are wondering where the inspiration behind the beautiful sceneries come from.
Dogo Onsen, Matsuyama (Spirited Away)
5-6 Dogoyunomachi, Matsuyama 790-0842 Ehime Prefecture
Dogo Onsen, located in the city of Matsuyama, is a hot spring and a very popular tourist attraction. It has a prominent presence in the Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away. Much of the plot happens in a structure that looks almost exactly like Dogo Onsen which itself is a breathtaking bath house with a maze-like interior, perfect for exploring.
Suga Shrine, Yotsuya, Tokyo (Your Name)
The 2016 hit anime Your Name (Kimo No Na) follows two people from different timelines who are able to switch bodies even though they’ve never met. The movie follows their journey together and leads to the moment they finally meet. Yotsuya in Tokyo heavily inspired the scene when the two characters meet – down to the staircase! The exact red railing staircase is located at Suga Shrine.
Karatsu, Saga Prefecture (Yuri!!! On Ice)
Yuri!!! On Ice is one of the most beloved animes out there, and for good reason. The show is credited for being both realistic and visually stunning, adored by figure skating fans. Yuri’s hometown is based on Karatsu in the Saga Prefecture. The whole town will make you nostalgic but one key place to visit is Iizuka Ice Palace, where you can relive Yuri’s practice sessions to your heart’s content.
Iwami, Tottori Prefecture (Free!)
Free! takes place in Iwatobi which is heavily inspired by the real town of Iwami. The town, much more calm than other big cities of Japan, is known for its train station but includes many other cute sites like local seafood shops, zen gardens that encompass a deep history.
Yuwaku Onsen, Kanazawa, Ishikawa (Hanasaku Iroha)
I-30-1 Yuwakutagojimamachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-1124, Japan
Lastly, if you loved Hanasaku Iroha, you need to visit this hot spring resort in Ishikawa! The entire town will have you feeling like the main character strolling around and figuring out life. Yuwaku Onsen is a must-see, as its architecture inspired the animation of buildings in the show. The entire town proudly claims Hanasaku Iroha, so be on the lookout for small cameos of the characters around the area.