Every year, late March to early May in Japan means following the cherry blossom front (桜前線 sakura zensen) as it moves across the islands. Blue tarps and picnic lunches blanket the best viewing spots as the full bloom arrives in each location. For anime seichijunrei fans and butaitanbou practitioners, this also means a precious and short window of time to capture the location models for favorite works before the blossoms drop. In cases where sakura were depicted in the work, this is a brief opportunity for the perfectionist to capture images of locations as they appeared in the series. Otherwise, its a fun and fleeting chance to see these places with an extra dusting of pink and white.

I followed anime pilgrims as they visited sites during this time period and curated some of the best images from each location. They are presented here in bloom order, which moves generally from southwest to northeast, though there are a few exceptions. The headliner this year was Ōgaki, Gifu Prefecture for Koe no Katachi. Blossoms feature prominently in several scenes, but as the film premiered in 2016 September, this was the first opportunity to see them in person since the release. Perennial favorite Noto Railway stations in Ishikawa Prefecture once again drew a large crowd for Hanasaku Iroha. Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture provided the big finish for the second time subsequent to Flying Witch. But they’re all wonderful!

Karatsu, Saga Prefecture

Yūri!!! on ICE

Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka Prefecture

Charlotte

Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture

Tamayura

@ewi published a photo essay.

Marugame Castle, Kagawa Prefecture

Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru

https://twitter.com/lidges/status/850320101664407554

Kotohiki Park, Kan’onji, Kagawa Prefecture

Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru

Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture

Udon no Kuni no Kin’iro Kemari

Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture

Suzumiya Haruhi

Senriyama, Suita, Osaka Prefecture

Saki Achiga-hen

Keage Incline, Kyoto

Hibike! Euphonium

Fujinomori, Kyoto

Tamako Market

https://twitter.com/momoseMT/status/852476670527262721

Uji, Kyoto Prefecture

Hibike! Euphonium

Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture

Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai!

Toyosato, Shiga Prefecture

K-On!

https://twitter.com/toyosato_kankou/status/851359554877005824

Ōgaki, Gifu Prefecture

Koe no Katachi

https://twitter.com/GinRfb/status/850870243157172225

Awara, Fukui Prefecture

Chihayafuru

Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture

Tamayura

Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture

Musaigen no Phantom World

Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture

Tsuki ga Kirei

@touyoko_com (post), @teo_imperial (post), @11922911Rinngo (post) and @dejiboo1 (tweet thread) made pilgrimages to Kawagoe for Episode 1.

Kishi Seiji (監督岸誠) is the director of Tsuki ga Kirei:

Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

@626shin made a pilgrimage to Koshigaya for Episode 13.

Washinomiya Jinja, Kuki, Saitama Prefecture

Lucky Star

Satte, Saitama Prefecture

Lucky Star

Ogawa, Saitama Prefecture

Non Non Biyori

Inokashira Park, Mitaka, Tokyo Metropolis

Hinako Note

@fureshima (post) and @anime_pq (post) made pilgrimages to Inokashira Park for Episode 1.

Mizuho, Tokyo Metropolis

Clannad

@11922911Rinngo made a pilgrimage to Mizuho.

Hamura, Tokyo Metropolis

Clannad

@11922911Rinngo made a pilgrimage to Hamura.

Denenchōfu-honchō, Ōta Ward, Tokyo

Clannad

@11922911Rinngo made a pilgrimage to Denenchōfu-honchō.

Takinogawa, Kita Ward and Mejirodai, Bunkyō Ward, Tokyo

BanG Dream!

@teo_imperial made a pilgrimage to Takinogawa and Mejirodai.

Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo

Kotonoha no Niwa

Nerima Ward, Tokyo

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Roppongi, Minato Ward, Tokyo

Kimi no Na wa.

Odaiba, Tokyo

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata Flat

Kasama, Ibaraki Prefecture

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture

Love Live! Sunshine!!

Itō, Shizuoka Prefecture

Amanchu!

Nanao and Anamizu, Ishikawa Prefecture

Hanasaku Iroha

@626shin (post), @kbt_tigers1985 (post) and @ewi (post) published reports and photo essays.

Nishigishi Station (Nanao)

Noto-Kashima Station (Anamizu)

https://twitter.com/sakura_izumo/status/852998287321735168

Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture

True Tears

Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture

Saki

Takayama, Gifu Prefecture

Hyōka

https://twitter.com/GinRfb/status/858282133705506817

Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture

Flying Witch

Shinoda Minami (篠田みなみ) is the voice actor for Makoto:

https://twitter.com/minami_shinoda/status/859335575731486721

Mikami Shiori (三上枝織) is the voice actor for Nao:

Suzuki Eri (鈴木絵理) is the voice actor for Chinatsu:

https://twitter.com/Erietty_55/status/859414037041250305