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
Uji Sound Festa
Part of the Uji City x Hibike! Euphonium Uji Winter Fest (宇治市×「響け！ユーフォニアム」 宇治ウィンターフェスタ), the Sound Festa (サウンドフェスタ) component—performances by junior and senior concert bands at multiple locations and talk by Eupho author Takeda Ayano at Ōbakusan Manpuku-ji—which had been planned for January 17, was cancelled due to the Covid-19 declaration of emergency expanding to include Kyoto Prefecture. The performances were instead recorded remotely and edited into a video which has just been released. A second video, which had been part of the original event plan and would have been released on the same day, is a tour of Hibike! Euphonium locations at Todō Senior High School (京都府立莵道高等学校) and Higashi Uji High School (京都府立東宇治高等学校). The tour is hosted by Fūrin (ふーりん) from Kyoto Bunkyō University in Uji, and Seki Saima (関西馬 @seki_saima), the Butaitanbou-sha Community Kansai area branch manager and one of the lead butaitanbou-sha on the Eupho series. Media coverage: Asahi Shimbun, Crunchyroll News
K-On! character birthday
A small but passionate group of K-On! fans held a character birthday party for Hirasawa Ui at former Toyosato Elementary School (豊郷小学校旧校舎群) on February 22, including an online component for fans who couldn’t attend due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. Photo: tweet 1
Kuonji Yuru Camp event
Kuonji (久遠寺) in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture will hold a Shima Rin themed traffic safety prayer ceremony (ゆるキャン△ 身延山久遠寺で志摩リンの愛車仕様のバイクと一緒に安全祈願会) on March 14. Capacity is limited to 50 motorcycles and 50 cars. A traffic safety sticker with unique character design will also be offered, and will be available for sale to all temple visitors. A similar event was held in conjunction with the first season of Yuru Camp and was very well received.
Shizuoka contents tourism
Professor Ōkubo Akane (大久保あかね) from Shizuoka Prefectural University has been teaching adult continuing education courses for professionals working in local tourism since 2020 October. A recent session on the theme of contents tourism explored utilizing seichijunrei, with discussion specifically related to Love Live! Sunshine!! and the local activation that contributed to successful engagement of fans. Media coverage: SBS
Uji contents tourism
Professor Katayama Akihisa (片山明久 @bsaku0214) will publish a book on contents tourism in Uji and Fushimi—Ryokō-sha to Chiiki ga Sōzō suru “Monogatari Kankō”: Uji-Fushimi Kankō no Ima to Kore kara (旅行者と地域が創造する「ものがたり観光」:宇治・伏見観光のいまとこれから)—on March 9. I’ll look deeper into this as more information is available, but I’m already aware there will be a section on the Kitauji High School OB Wind Ensemble (北宇治高校OB吹奏楽団), a group of volunteer musicians made up of Hibike! Euphonium fans.
Kanda Myōjin Animal Crossing festival
Kanda Myōjin (神田明神) in Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis has a long history of collaboration with pop culture media, particularly anime and live action TV drama. In 2020 Summer, the shrine recreated its annual Nōryō Matsuri (納涼祭り) in the game Animal Crossing when the on site event had to be cancelled due to concerns around Covid-19. Media coverage: Walker Plus
Nishiizu Yuru Camp seichijunrei
Junkan Ryokō Shimbun published an article about smaller cities that have been eyeing location tourism, which they define as “free advertising of local information”, as a means to offset decline due to aging population through regional revitalization. Nishiizu, Shizuoka Prefecture specifically mentions recent interest from Yuru Camp fans on anime pilgrimages. Media coverage: Junkan Ryokō Shimbun
Karatsu Zonsaga building preservation
Karatsu, Saga Prefecture had been considering two paths for preservation of the former Mitsubishi Joint Stock Company Karatsu Branch main building (旧三菱合資会社唐津支店本館), now used as the Karatsu City Museum of History and Folklore, but which has been closed since 2003 due to deterioration. The building could be relocated or preserved in place. It was ultimately decided to seek repairs in place, in consideration of lower estimated cost, preservation of cultural value, and the fact that it is now a seichi for Zombie Land Saga fans. Media coverage: Saga Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun
Atami Kirei ni shite moraemasu ka. seichijunrei
Volume 6 of manga Kirei ni shite moraemasu ka. (綺麗にしてもらえますか。) was released February 25. The manga is set in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture and has already generated significant seichijunrei interest. Media coverage: Atami Keizai Shimbun
Hokuto Super Cub collaboration
Yamanashi Prefectural Police Hokuto Police Station released a crime prevention poster featuring a visual from upcoming series Super Cub, which premieres 2021 April and is set in Hokuto. Media coverage: Crunchyroll News
Jashin-chan Kushiro collaboration
Kushiro City announced it has reached its target of 30 million yen in furusato nōzei receipts for a fund to collaborate on production of a Kushiro-hen episode of upcoming series Jashin-chan Dropkick X. The third season of the Jashin-chan anime adaptation is planned to include four such episodes featuring local tourism tie-ins following a general crowdfunding campaign and city-specific funding through the hometown tax system. Media coverage: Kushiro City, Jashin-chan official site, Anime News Network, Crunchyroll News
Saga Zonsaga manhole covers
Saga Prefecture will install manhole covers featuring Franchouchou members, 14 designs in total to be distributed among six cities, to commemorate the broadcast of Zombie Land Saga Revenge, the second season of the series. Covers will be installed beginning April 22. Media coverage: Saga Shimbun, Comic Natalie, Animate Times, Crunchyroll News
Tajimi Yakumo itasha
Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture has decorated its government vehicles as itasha featuring characters from upcoming series Yakunara Mug Cup Mo, which premieres 2021 April. This is part of a broader collaboration campaign between the city and anime production, which is based on a free manga published by the city specifically for the purpose of promoting tourism. Media coverage: Yakumo official site, Comic Natalie, Crunchyroll News
Shinjuku Kitsutsuki collaboration
Shinjuku Ward launched a Kitsutsuki Tantei-dokoro digital stamp rally. Active dates have not been specified, but a representative for the Shinjuku Ward Culture and Tourism Division stated it will be available for a “long time”. Media coverage: Takadanobaba Keizai Shimbun
(ゆるキャン△ SEASON2 Yurukyan Season 2)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
In 2019, @fureshima2223 made pilgrimages (post 1, post 2, post 3*) to Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture and Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture for manga chapters that correspond to Episode 7. They’re full of interesting background information. *Watch out for a little bit of Episode 8 spoiler near the end of post 3.
Minobu Line (身延線)
Shuku-no-eki Shimizuya (宿の駅 清水屋) in Akasawashuku
Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha (富士山本宮浅間大社) in Fujinomiya
Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha
Kōjū (高住), Hayakawa
Arakura (新倉), Hayakawa (specifically here)
Great Cedar of Yushima (湯島の大スギ) in Yujima (湯島), Hayakawa
Okonomishokudō Itō (お好み食堂 伊東) in Fujinomiya
Shigureyaki (しぐれ焼き) is a local specialty that combines okonomiyaki and yakisoba, usually batter, cabbage, agedama (bits of fried tenpura batter) and noodles. The gomoku (五目) are the five goodies that get added to the the signature offering at Itō: squid, pork, egg, shiitake and shirmp. Looks tasty.
Narada Onsen (奈良田温泉) in Narada (奈良田), Hayakawa
Minami Alps Biosphere Reserve (南アルプスユネスコエコパーク)
(のんのんびより のんすとっぷ Non Non Biyori Nonsutoppu)
This cut is one of several confirmed locations appearing in the series that come from the area around a railroad crossing (入小屋踏切) on the Tadami Line (只見線), near Former Kakinoki Station (旧柿ノ木駅) in Uonuma (魚沼市), Niigata Prefecture. The little red structure is a storage shed for tools, here.
Other Current Season Pilgrimage
@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Kanda Surugadai and Jinbōchō, Chiyoda Ward; Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward; Sakujiiimachi, Nerima Ward (all Tokyo Metropolis) for Urasekai Picnic Episode 2 through Episode 8.