The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

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

Kyoani Music Festival
Though itself not a pilgrimage related event, the Kyoani Music Festival on November 20 and 21 brought many fans to Kyoto for the concerts at Rohm Theatre. For many, this was the first time returning to the area since before the pandemic. Some used the opportunity to visit seichi for Kyoani series, primarily Demachi Masugata Shōtengai (出町桝形商店街) for Tamako Market and Uji for Hibike! Euphonium. If you think about it, Rohm is used as a setting in the film Hibike! Euphonium: Chikai no Finale and the key visual for the festival incorporates the mosaic tile patterns from the large square at the performing arts center, so technically everyone attending the concert was also doing seichijunrei—sort of.

Suzaki Aya (洲崎綾) is Tamako’s voice actor and was one of the performers in the concert. She checked in on shop staff at Masugata, one of many impromptu visits over the years. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3

A flower stand with welcome back message for Suzaki, including illustrations by @TamakoOji, was put together with the help of local florist Hanahiro (花大) and Self Kishimoto-ya (セルフ岸本屋) owner Kishimoto Hitoshi. Kishimoto often gives media interviews about the involvement of the shōtengai in the production of Tamako Market and efforts to engage with fans over the years. At the end of the weekend, fans were invited to help themselves to flowers before the stand was disassembled. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5

Other Demachi photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5, tweet 6, tweet 7, tweet 8, tweet 9, tweet 10, tweet 11, tweet 12

Uji photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5, tweet 6, tweet 7, tweet 8, tweet 9

Keihan Eupho goods sale
It wasn’t formally connected with the festival, but the Keihan Electric Railway (京阪電気鉄道) sale of train headmarks and straps from past Hibike! Euphonium collaborations was scheduled for the late morning on November 20 with the intention that fans traveling to the area could participate in the event at Keihan Uji Station before attending the concert. These aren’t reproductions, they are the actual advertisements and mounting hardware used on the trains during promotional campaigns. Unlike the artificial scarcity of “limited edition” goods produced purely for sales, the limited amount of these items is a function of what was needed for deploying on the trainsets, so they are highly sought after. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4

Sakuragaike Quest tree cleanup
With the help of volunteers, Sakuragaike Quest (桜ヶ池クエスト) organized a routine logging of sick trees around Sakuragaike in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture on November 20. Sakuragaike Quest was formed as a response to P.A.Works series Sakura Quest, with the primary goal of fundraising for tree planting in the area to create the dense clusters of cherry blossoms depicted in the fictional work, which modeled its setting on multiple areas in Nanto. P.A.Works president Horikawa Kenji serves on the Sakuragaike Quest board as chairman of the executive committee. Horikawa was present at the event and participated in the work. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5, tweet 6, tweet 7, tweet 8, tweet 9, tweet 10

Kanda Myōjin Love Live collaboration
Kanda Myōjin (神田明神) in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis is currently holding an exhibition on the history of hatsumōde, which is available on grounds between 9:00 to 16:00 everyday from November 6 to 28, and costs 300 JPY for admission. Attendees can get an early look at a new collaboration illustration featuring the characters of the original Love Live! series posing in furisode in front of the shrine. At a later date, the illustration will be freely viewable at the shrine product sales facility, where collaboration goods based on the illustration will be available.

Cafe Dream Haruhi event
Cafe Dream (珈琲屋ドリーム) in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture will hold a promotional Christmas event that includes a Suzumiya Haruhi collaboration from December 5 to 26. Patrons who purchase a waffle and drink set (in which one of the options is a melon cream soda), receive a character postcard as a gift. There will be a Christmas tree poster in the shop on which visitors can post messages.

Minobu Yuru Camp event
Gojōgaoka Activation Promotion Council (五条ヶ丘活性化推進協議会) will host an overnight camping meetup for Yuru Camp fans at former Shimobe elementary and junior high schools in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture on December 18 and 19. Interested participants can register here until December 14. This will be the annual Illumination Camp (イルミネーション・キャンプ), at which participants are invited to decorate their tents and gear with Christmas lights. There will be a gift exchange and a contest in which participants vote for the best light displays. This year, organizers arranged for photographer Narisawa Hiroyuki to come teach a course on astrophotography (stars and nightscapes). The course will be taught in the afternoon, then there will be both a viewing session using an astronomical telescope and night sky photography session in the evening.

Tamako character birthday
A fan-organized Tamako Market character birthday for Kitashirakawa Tamako hosted by Shin Keihan (しんけーはん @shinkeihan6350) is planned for December 31 in Demachi, Kyoto, though a specific time and venue have not yet been decided.

Asahina Mikuru tobidashi rebuilding
After many years of service, the Asahina Mikuru tobidashi that lives in front of Cafe Dream in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture will be retired due to aging and recent damage. Tesra (テスラ @tesra1141) plans to create a new Mikuru “Unit 2” using the original template. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2

Flying Witch Neputa
For the second year, the Witch Association Hirosaki Branch (魔女協会弘前支部)—a Flying Witch fan club based in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture—organized the construction of a neputa, the fan-shaped floats with elaborate art that are illuminated from within and paraded through the city during Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri (弘前ねぷたまつり). This is not quite a full size float, though it is larger than the previous one, and is again adorned with art by neputa painter Miura Yūki (三浦岳仙) that incorporates characters from the manga and anime series. Also like the previous float, this one is made of corrugated cardboard (with some wood frame and paper as the art canvas). They plan to exhibit the neputa at Danborian (ダンボリアン), a festival for people who create things with cardboard, on November 28. Photos: tweet 1

Minobu Yuru Camp gas station support
Misawaya Petroleum (三沢屋石油) is a small gasoline stand on National Route 300 in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture and it appears in the Yuru Camp manga. Due to recent landslides, a section of the road near the stand was closed, leading to a significant drop in business volume. Yuru Camp fans initiated an informal campaign via social media to support the business by encouraging visitors to patronize the stand. Misawaya returns the gesture by offering firewood bundles for campers at half the market price. Media coverage: YBS Wide News

Washinomiya Jinja torii rebuilding
This week, the construction crew focused on the base of the pillars (hashira) of the new torii at Washinomiya Jinja (鷲宮神社). Work is scheduled to be complete December 3 and visitors will be able to pass through the torii the following day. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4

Kōchi tourism promotion
Kōchi Prefecture Tourism Promotion Department Tourism Policy Division (高知県観光振興部観光政策課) launched a series of promotions available from October 22 to November 30 that include natural scenery, gourmet restaurants, and local foodstuffs in the Niyodo River basin area called Niyodo Blue Experience Expo 2021 (仁淀ブルー体験博2021). Though these activities do not include any anime tourism directly, the communications regarding them lead with statements about use of area locations in the setting of film Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime, refer to these as “seichi,” and refer to visiting tourists as engaging in “seichijunrei.” Tourism to the basin area tied to the film was heavily promoted prior to and for several months after its premiere in July. Media coverage: @Press (press release)

The Aquatope on White Sand

(白い砂のアクアトープ Shiroi Suna no Akuatōpu)

Episode 20

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

@heero_yuy2 (tweet) proposes Shirumichu Beach in Uruma as a potential reference for the cove with the lost dolphin.

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Over the past several weeks, @Chicken_army_3 and @heero_yuy2 have been investigating multiple hypotheses for the location and building of Ohana. There are a few more environmental clues (tweet) that support the National Route 449 in Motobu theory for the foreground location. I’m still convinced that the far background is Nanjō (tweet). Meanwhile, Hiyoko found a restaurant (tweet) both named Ohana and sharing the general shape though not the textures of the building in— Aichi? The plot thickens.

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Hijagawa-Ōhashi (比謝川大橋), a red truss bridge spanning the Hija River (比謝川), connecting Mizugama (水釜), Kadena with Furugen (古堅), Yomitan (読谷村), Okinawa Prefecture

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The fictional Aquarium Tingaara is depicted at the west side of Kadena Air Base (嘉手納基地) in Kadena (嘉手納町), Okinawa Prefecture.

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The fictional restaurant Kamee is depicted at a site in Chinen (知念), Nanjō (南城市), Okinawa Prefecture, where most of the first cour was set.

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Here, the camera hovers over Asahibashi Station looking north in Naha (那覇市), Okinawa Prefecture. [Credit: @JuantheMad_, Twitter]

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

In the next frame, we’re down on the ground a little further north, near Miebashi Station in Matsuyama (松山), Naha.

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Bridal House Tutu Okinawa (ブライダルハウスチュチュ沖縄) in Matsuyama

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Kadena

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Sashiki (佐敷), Nanjō [Credit: @JuantheMad_, Twitter]

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Intersection of National Route 331 (国道331号) and Shining Sun Road (サンサンロード), Chinen

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Azama Sun Sun Beach (あざまサンサンビーチ), Chinen

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Other Current Season Pilgrimage

@lidges made a pilgrimage to Marugame, Kan’onji and Utazu, Kagawa Prefecture for Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru: Dai Mankai no Shō Episode 8.

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Sawatari and Takashimadai, Kanagawa Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture for Muv-Luv Alternative Episode 7.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@fureshima2223 made a pilgrimage to Lake Shibire in Ichikawamisato, Yamanashi Prefecture for Yuru Camp.

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Kokudō Station in Namamugi, Tsurumi Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture for Nekomonogatari (Kuro).