Stars Align 星合の空

Welcome to this week’s review of notable instances of public transit use and urban design, as well as discussion of place identity and culture, through anime currently broadcast or screening in Japan and simulcast internationally via the web. This review also documents seichijunrei (聖地巡礼 sacred site pilgrimage) and butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting)—on this website referred to collectively as anime pilgrimage—which are forms of place-based engagement induced by the use of real locations in show settings.

Media and General Interest

Hatsumōde seichijunrei
Writing for Yahoo News Japan, contents tourism researcher Kawashima Tarō (河嶌太郎) published an updated list of temples and shrines that have become seichijunrei destinations through association with anime series, this year including 88 selections for anime pilgrims to consider as they prepare for hatsumōde (初詣), the first visits of the new year. At these places, it is common to find ema (絵馬)—small wooden votive tablets—fans have adorned with anime characters or conveyed in text that a visit was made for the purpose of seichijunrei, but temples and shrines are also often hosts of pilgrimage exchange notebooks.

…and let’s not forget hatsuhinode (初日の出) seichijunrei.

Hannō Times Mart relocation
Cleanup of the original Hannō Times Mart is complete. Thanks for the memories!

Comiket 97
Comic Market 97 (コミックマーケット97) was held December 28-31 at Tokyo Big Sight in Ariake, Kōtō Ward. Butaitanbou and seichijunrei oriented works were in ample supply.

Omoshiro Dōjinshi Bazaar Ōsaki 8
Concurrent with Comiket, Omoshiro Dōjinshi Bazaar Ōsaki 8 (おもしろ同人誌バザール​大崎8) was held at the Yumesanbashi (夢さん橋) connected to Ōsaki Station in Shinagawa Ward. Seichikaigi representative director/“seichijunrei producer” Kakizaki Shundō and globetrotting butaitanbou-sha Kazupi both setup booths.

Free! and Iwami
The vice mayor of Iwami, Tottori Prefecture gave a talk in Osaka on 2019 October 17 about regional revitalization initiatives in Iwami, emphasizing the promotion of natural and local resources, but also touching on seichijunrei visitors for Free! He notes some of these fans have become repeat visitors, and a few have even emigrated to Iwami. Media coverage: Osaka Nichi Nichi Shimbun

Konoseka Kure stamp rally
Kure City launched a stamp rally for Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni in 2019 July that will run until 2020 February 16. Media coverage: Tabetainjya

Hello World JR Tōkai collaboration
Tōhō and JR Tōkai launched a smartphone app based rally with audio guides for locations in Kyoto featured in Hello World in 2019 October that will run until 2020 January 31. Media coverage: Travel Watch, Travel News

Evangelion Hakone collaboration
Odakyū Group and Evangelion will launch a marketing collaboration (official site) in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture that will run from 2020 January 10 to June 30. The collaboration will include wrappings on Odakyū Hakone high speed buses, Hakone Tozan buses and Tōgendai Station, as well as limited edition goods and a stamp rally. Media coverage: Sankei Shimbun

Yurucamp JR Tōkai collaboration
Yurucamp and JR Tōkai, in cooperation with local governments along the Minobu Line in Yamanashi Prefecture, will launch a marketing collaboration (official site)—a limited run express train featuring original illustrations and in-car announcements recorded by voice actors from the series, which will operate on 2020 February 1, 2, 8, and 9. Media coverage: Travel Watch, Netorabo

SKY Perfect JSAT and Kinki Nippon Tourist business collaboration
Broadcaster SKY Perfect JSAT and KNT-CT Holdings (part of the Kinki Nippon Tourist Group) announced on 2019 October 23 they will jointly plan and develop contents tourism products, including tours based on locations used in anime. Media coverage: Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Kankō Keizai Shimbun

Future Season Pilgrimage

@nadukari_h made a pilgrimage to Ogikubo, Kamiogi and Zenpukuji, Suginami Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Gekijōban Shirobako.

Current Season Pilgrimage

@tianlangxing made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Nakano, Nakano Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Hoshiai no Sora Episode 12.

@ye_bi_su made a pilgrimage to Kansai International Airport and Kyoto for Hōkago Saikoro Club Episode 10 and Episode 12.

@rica0867 made a pilgrimage to Kyoto for Hōkago Saikoro Club multiple episodes.

@fragments_sue made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Ojikajima, Nagasaki Prefecture for Kandagawa Jet Girls.

@teo_imperial made a pilgrimage to the Kanda River between Yanagibashi and Izumibashi in Tokyo for Kandagawa Jet Girls.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to (post 8) Nakano, Nakano Ward; (post 9) Shibakōen, Minato Ward (both Tokyo Metropolis) for Fruits Basket (2019).

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to Takadanobaba, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Koi wa Ameagari no Yō ni.

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to (post 1) Kichijōji, Musashino; (post 2) Senjusekiyachō, Adachi Ward (both Tokyo Metropolis) for Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works.

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to Akihabara (Soto-Kanda), Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Lucky Star.


Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン