Kansai
Pilgrimage to Uji for Hibike! Euphonium

Pilgrimage to Uji for Hibike! Euphonium

After living vicariously through friends’ tweets and blog posts during the 2015 Spring broadcast, in 2015 October I was finally able to make my own pilgrimage to Uji, Kyoto Prefecture for Kyoto Animation’s Hibike! Euphonium (響け!ユーフォニアム). I study this kind of pop culture tourism—called seichijunrei (聖地巡礼 holy land pilgrimage) by casual participants, or butaitanbou (舞台探訪...
Demachi Masugata Shotengai, Session 3

Demachi Masugata Shotengai, Session 3

Over the past three years, I’ve researched, photographed and written extensively about the Demachi Masugata Shōtengai (出町桝形商店街) in Kyoto and its fictional alter ego, the Usagiyama Shōtengai from the Kyoto Animation series Tamako Market and film Tamako Love Story. I’ve used the real shopping arcade to explain urbanism and machizukuri (街づくり town making) concepts, and...
Contents Tourism Discussion with Okamoto Takeshi

Contents Tourism Discussion with Okamoto Takeshi

With all available shelf space already occupied, stacks of textbooks, anthologies and manga line a path so narrow I have to be careful where I step. If I don’t swivel my head as I go, I might take out a lineup of miniature Gundam models with my camera bag. No, this isn’t the club room...
Kyoto Animation and Animation Do Fan Event 2015

Kyoto Animation and Animation Do Fan Event 2015

Kyoto Animation and subsidiary Animation Do held their second ever fan event over 2015 October 31 and November 1 in the exhibition space at Miyako Messe in Kyoto. Though some marketing materials for upcoming shows were unveiled, on the whole it was an opportunity for fans of the Kyoto Animation oeuvre to get up close...
Takakura Nijo in Kannoncho

Takakura Nijo in Kannoncho

My final stop before heading back to China via Tokyo after a week in Kansai was originally to be a return visit to Miyoshi in Kyoto’s Kiyamachi nightlife district. Miyoshi is a simple, no fuss bowl of tonkotsu ramen (creamy, pork bone soup) that doesn’t score highly in the creativity department, but goes down easy...
Eizan Electric Railway K-On! Walk

Eizan Electric Railway K-On! Walk

For my last day on a stay in Kyoto, I had wanted to get away from the city center and have a good, meditative walk. The original plan was to follow the full length of the Eizan Electric Railway (叡山電鉄) Kurama Line, from Demachiyanagi all the way up through the hills to Kurama-dera. In the...
Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) is a colossal Shinto shrine that sprawls up the western slope of Mount Inari in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto. It is the head shrine of over 32,000 Inari sub-shrines, approximately one third of the Shinto shrines with full-time resident priests in all of Japan. Inari is the Shinto god (kami) of a...
Ryoma-dori Shotengai

Ryoma-dori Shotengai

Ryōma-dōri Shōtengai (竜馬通り商店街) is a 130 meter open air pedestrian shopping street in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto. Originally, my walk plan for this area of the city just included Fushimi Ōtesuji Shōtengai and Nayamachi Shōtengai, the two covered shopping streets around Fushimi-Momoyama Station. When I emerged from the end of Nayamachi I saw this photogenic street...
Nayamachi Shotengai

Nayamachi Shotengai

Nayamachi Shōtengai (納屋町商店街), alternatively known as Passage Nayamachi 5-bangai (パッサージュなやまち5番街), is a 170 meter covered pedestrian shopping street in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto. Together with Fushimi Ōtesuji Shōtengai, it forms an ‘L’ shaped continuous covered pedestrian route from Fushimi-Momoyama Station into the surrounding districts to the west. Like Ōtesuji, the street traces its roots as a...
Fushimi Otesuji Shotengai

Fushimi Otesuji Shotengai

Fushimi Ōtesuji Shōtengai (伏見大手筋商店街) is a 400 meter covered pedestrian shopping street that begins at Fushimi-Momoyama Station on the Keihan Main Line and runs west along Ōtesuji-dōri in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto. The promotion association that currently manages the arcade formally organized in 1966, but the history of the shopping street reaches much farther back, deep...
Kyoto Sanjokai Shotengai

Kyoto Sanjokai Shotengai

Kyōto Sanjōkai Shōtengai (京都三条会商店街) appears to be a public space in transition. On my visit, it has a noticeably desolate air about it, but later reading seems to hint that a new generation is slowly returning to the large, covered shopping street, in an effort to halt its decline and breathe new life into the neglected...
聖地巡礼と舞台探訪者コミュニティとの初めてのオフ会

聖地巡礼と舞台探訪者コミュニティとの初めてのオフ会

今回の話をどこから始めるべきか決めるのはなかなか難しい。表面的にシンプルに言ってしまえば、東京と京都で開かれた2つのオフ会の話になる。一人を除いてほぼ全員が初めてお会いする方々だった。これ自体はさほど珍しいことではないのだが、今回のオフ会が特別であったのは、この2年間(そのルーツは更に過去に遡る)追い続けてきた長い道のりの転換点となったことである。