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
With extra precautions and requirements in place to mitigate Covid-19 spread, Lucky Star & Maesetsu! Dōjinshi Sokubaikai (らき☆すた＆まえせつ！同人誌即売会)—commonly referred to as LuckyFes (らき☆ふぇす)—was held November 22 at three venues in Washinomiya, Kuki, Saitama Prefecture. This is a dōjinshi event specifically targeting Lucky Star and (as of this year) Maesetsu! derived contents. In addition to the dōjinshi spot sale, goods and paraphernalia were offered at the Lucky Market, and the concurrent event Sha Play (車ぷれ) hosted venues for cosplay and itasha. On the day of the event, Jungle Kinenbi (ジャングル記念日), the Lucky Star themed snack bar which normally operates only in evenings, opened from noon to 11pm. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5, tweet 6, tweet 7
— 刑部長門守伊月（いづき） (@bluetwintail) November 22, 2020
— 刑部長門守伊月（いづき） (@bluetwintail) November 22, 2020
Kashihara Cafe Sando 50th anniversary
Fans of Kyōkai no Kanata were on hand as Cafe Sando (喫茶サンド) in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture celebrated its 50th anniversary on November 18. The cafe is a popular meeting spot for seichijunrei-sha and was one of many locations that setup a donation collection box in the wake of the 2019 July arson attack on Kyoto Animation Studio 1. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2
Seichikaigi Expo 2020
Seichikaigi, the contents tourism business periodical, will host Seichikaigi Expo 2020 (聖地会議 Expo 2020), a series of exhibitions and panel discussions held at event space shibuya-san in Tokyo, most of which are also available for free streaming online, from December 16 to 30. An opening party will be held at shibuya-san on December 15. Media coverage: Dream News
Kimetsu no Yaiba seichijunrei
Media can’t get enough of these stories about Kimetsu no Yaiba pilgrimage, which is quite something when you consider all but a few of these locations are being identified by fans only because of shared names or visual similarities to content from the series, not because they were used as references for the setting. Shared names have resulted in travel to Hachiman Kamado Jinja (八幡竈門神社) in Beppu, Ōita Prefecture; Hōmangu Kamado Jinja (宝満宮竈門神社) in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture; Mizoguchi Kamado Jinja (溝口竈門神社) in Chikugo, Fukuoka Prefecture; Katsurakiniimasu Honoikazuchi Jinja (葛木坐火雷神社) in Katsuragi, Nara Prefecture; Kanro-ji (甘露寺) in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture; and the tiny district of Yatsuomachi Mekki (八尾町滅鬼) in Toyama City, Toyama Prefecture. Visual similarities have sent visitors to Ittōseki (一刀石 split boulder) in Yagyūchō, Nara Prefecture; and to Ōkawasō (大川荘), a ryokan in Ashinomaki Onsen, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. Real locations that are referenced in the series include Asakusa (浅草), Taito Ward, Tokyo Metropolis; and Mount Kumotori (雲取山), which straddles the boundaries between Tokyo, Saitama, and Yamanashi prefectures. Media coverage: Yomiuri Shimbun, Line Travel, Kaigo Ryokō Net, Ameba News, Mainichi Shimbun 1, Nikkan Gendai, Nikkan Sports, With News, Mainichi Shimbun 2, Mainichi Shimbun 2 (English), Crunchyroll News
There are concerns about fans who attempt to climb Mount Kumotori without sufficient climbing experience, appropriate clothing and gear, or even basic understanding of the difficulty of this specific mountain. Media coverage: Smart Flash, Crunchyroll News
The blog Genzai Ichi wo Kakunin Shimasu. suggests, based on the content of the series, there may be little point to climbing the summit of Mount Kumotori simply because the name of the mountain is mentioned, but rather it would be far more practical and meaningful to visit the remains of charcoal making villages close to the foot of the mountain on the path that leads from Mitsumine Jinja (三峯神社) in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, which is where the production visited for location hunting. In the series, the protagonist’s hometown is said to be Okutama (奥多摩), which is on the Tokyo side of Kumotori. There are also charcoal kiln remnants here, but they are harder to find.
Yamanashi Kamisama collaboration
The Yamanashi City Tourism Association (山梨市観光協会) and Kamisama ni Natta Hi launched a marketing collaboration which includes a printed “Butaitanbou Map” and smartphone based stamp rally, with QR codes placed at seven locations around the city. Information about the campaign is being pushed by Twitter accounts for both the series and tourism association. @fureshima2223 compiled the various marketing materials and communications in a blog post. Media coverage: Dengeki Online
Reactions by butaitanbou-sha to the marketing campaign were markedly cold. Some questioned the use of the term butaitanbou, which the subculture coined to differentiate the path-finding nature of its activities. Some lamented that the appearance of the campaign means the setting is no longer an “underground church“, and that the attractiveness to butaitanbou-sha for this and other recent series is limited to a window of time between the beginning of broadcast and the reveal of an official tourism marketing campaign. Though stopping short of accusations, some are suspicious that the content of the official map was gleaned by consulting butaitanbou blogs, noting the details in the descriptive snippets and inclusion of obscure locations that have no tourism value. One says the announcement of the campaign gives rise to the sense that, with regard to this series, he’s seen enough of Yamanashi now. Others just feel sad.
(神様になった日 Kamisama ni Natta Hi)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Fruit Park Fujiya Hotel (フルーツパーク富士屋ホテル)
Shibuya scramble crossing (渋谷スクランブル交差点)
Nara Park (奈良公園)
Unidentified, but the postmark on the card found in the data center suggests somewhere in Yokohama.
Other Current Season Pilgrimage
@626shin made pilgrimage to Makuhari Messe in Nakase, Mihama Ward, Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture for Ochikobore Fruit Tart Episode 3; Koganei and Tokyo Dome City in Bunkyō Ward (both Tokyo Metropolis) for Episode 5 and Episode 6.