|Above, the Godzilla statue in Hibiya, Chiyoda Ward in Tokyo. Chiyoda|
is the top pilgrimage area for anime fans. Photo by Armand Vaquer.
People traveling to Japan to see locations and landmarks featured in their favorite movies or television shows has been going on for years.
Monster fans have been drawn to Japan to visit places used in Godzilla or Gamera movies. Some of the most popular landmarks include Ginza's Wako department store and the Kachidoki Bridge (both featured in Godzilla in 1954), the Saikai Bridge near Sasebo City in Kyushu (featured in Rodan in 1956) and Tokyo Tower (featured in several monster movies starting with Mothra in 1961). The list goes on.
That is why I came up with The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan to assist fans in making their own pilgrimages to these places.
Wanting to see landmarks and locations used in movies or television shows isn't just a phenomenon of monster fans. This is also something that draws fans of anime to Japan as well. The Japan National Tourism Organization has even put out a Japan Anime Tourism Guide for those fans. (The Japan Anime Tourism Guide is available through the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) at http://visitjapan.jp.)
It may seem a little far-fetched that anime fans would want to visit locations and landmarks featured in their favorite anime, since they are all just basically cartoons. At least, for the most part, the actual locations used in Godzilla or Gamera movies were shown, but intercut with highly detailed miniatures.
Rocket News 24 has an article on "The Top Ten Spots In Tokyo To Make An Anime Pilgrimage." These are wards in Tokyo (Chiyoda and Shinjuku are examples of two of them) that has landmarks and locations that were depicted in anime.
A bulk of the anime we know and love are set in real-life locations in Japan. Often, the stories are based on a specific location mentioned in the anime, such as Ikebukuro where popular anime Durarara! and its sequel are set. In other cases, the setting is not mentioned but fans are quick to identify the location using scenes found in each episode. One such example would be the hit franchise The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, which featured scenery from Nishinomiya in Hyogo Prefecture. Avid anime fans have had a long tradition of making pilgrimages to key spots in their favorite series through an activity known as Seichi Junrei. There’s now even a website dedicated to documenting these spots and they have recently released a ranking of the wards in Tokyo that contain the most number of pilgrimage spots.
|Above, when one compares the anime (left) and the actual place |
in Tokyo, pilgrimages may not seem so far-fetched after all.
The article also has a chart of the rankings of pilgrimage spots of interest to anime fans, in case they have limited time to spare while in Japan. They can just concentrate on the areas with the most pilgrimage spots.
To read the article, go here.