Japan is full of hidden spots to visit, and each location has multiple reasons to stop by! For example, you can go to the Yushima Tenjin shrine for 3 or more purposes. The culture, history or even to duplicate scenes from the anime “Noragami”!  All these different goals for one location! As an anime lover, coming to Japan is like stepping into a dreamlike reality because there are so many places that the most famous animes are based on. Now, here are some top 5 anime locations to visit when you are here in Japan.

1. Kimino na wa (君の名は)

The first location is from the world known movie, Your Name (Kimino na wa)! If you have seen this movie, you would remember the last scene where the main characters, Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu, meet again on a staircase with a red handrail. This location was also used for the poster of the movie.

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If you’re visiting Tokyo, this is a must see location. These staircases with the red hand rails lead up to the Suga shrine, and are only a 10 minute walk from the Yotsuya station. Yotsuya station is only 1 station aways from Shinjuku on the Chuo line. These hills around this Yotsuya area have existed from the edo period. This particular staircase is named “Suga Shrine Otokozaka”, as many staircases that are very steep, leading to a shrine are called “Otokozaka”s.

2. Naruto (ナルト)

The second location is from an anime classic. If you are an anime and manga fan, Naruto is one that everybody knows. If you think about the character Naruto and what he likes to eat, ramen immediately comes to mind. Particularly the “Ichiraku” ramen. It is said that the Ichiraku Ramen was based on the ramen store in Fukuoka, located in the very south of Japan, called “Ichiraku Ramen” kyusan dai mae branch. Unfortunately, this store has closed down. However, it is still possible to eat the Ichiraku Ramen at other places in Japan.

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It is said that the author of Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto, ate at this ramen place all the time when he was a University student, and that is why it appears in his manga. Although, this place is now closed, there are many other Ichiraku ramen stores that you can go to in Fukuoka. For example, the “Ichiraku ramen” Shimeshiten, is a ramen store similar to the original one. It’s near the Fukuoka airport and is easy access.

3. Hakuouki Reimeiroku (薄桜鬼 黎明録)

Third, is the beautiful historical anime, “Hakuouki” Reimeiroku. Hakuouki is a historical anime with the main character “Chizuru” encountering the “Shinsengumi” as she is on her quest to find her father. The Shinsengumi was a special police force organized by the military government (bakufu) during the Bakumatsu period (1863~1869). The temple the Shinsengumi and Chizuru stayed in, is located in Kyoto at the Mibu temple. This temple is said to be the real place where the Shinsengumi stayed during the Bakumatsu period.

©IF・DF/「薄桜鬼 黎明録」政策委員会

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There are many locations around the shrine that you can replicate scenes from the anime. Even the cafes and little streets around the temple are also part of the anime. So taking a small Hakuouki tour around and in the Mibu temple will make you feel like you are also a part of the anime.

4. Higurashi no Naku Koroni (ひぐらしのなく頃に)

Fourth, is the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When they cry). This is a murder horror anime that takes place in June of 1983 and is based on the main character Keiichi Maebara and Rena Ryugu, Mion Sonozaki, Rika Furude, and Satoko Hojo. The location of the anime is at a fictional village called Hinamizawa. This location was based on the real village of Shirakawa in the Gifu prefecture, which is a world heritage site. This village consists of a population of about 2000 people. Through this anime, the main character, Keiichi, finds that a member of the village disappears every year during the Wanagashi Festival and is soon drawn into a strange series of events surrounding this festival.

©2006竜騎士07/ひぐらしのなく頃に製作委員会・創通

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One of the main locations used in the anime was the house of the Sonosaki family. This house was based on the Wada house that are considered an important cultural asset. This is a gassho styled house and is a distinctive characterstic to the houses in this area. The gassho style houses have a steeply- sloped roof. These roofs are made out of gable, and the angle of the roof allows snow to slide off easily. This particular house, that was used in the anime, belongs to the wada family, who are said to have served as officals at the guardhouse. They traded explosives and raw silk. Higurashi no nakukoroni has countless scenes based on the whole village and the anime consists of many historical locations.

5. Durarara! (デゥラララ!)

Last but not least is, Durarara. This is an anime that was based on a Japanese light novel series, written by Ryohgo Narita. The main character, Mikado Ryugamine and his childhood friend Masaomi Kida, explore the streets of Ikebukuro, in Tokyo and have many interactions with an information broker, a gang called “The Dollars, and the “Black Rider”. Most of the scenes are based in Ikebukuro, one of Tokyo’s city centers.

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This scene is located in the middle of the sunshine city streets and is one of the more easily identifiable locations from the anime. The musical note statue in the background is an easy land mark. If you take a short walk around Ikebukuro, especially around Sunshine City, you will be able to find many locations that came up in this anime. For example, the street where they first saw the “black rider”, is on the street next to Sunshine City, heading towards the highway.

As you can see, Japan is a treasure box for anime lovers and there are so many places you can visit. The beauty of this country is that there are so many people from cultures and niches and they magically become integrated and coincide together. Depending on where you are, the vibes and culture of the people can be drastically different. Using this anime list may be a fun way to see the different sides of the Japanese culture!