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
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スクーターと一緒に安全祈願会) on April 23. Capacity is limited to 50 people traveling by motorbike or bicycle, and 50 people traveling by car. Participation tickets cost 3,000 JPY and are allocated by lottery, which is open until April 4.
The event particularly invites participation by owners of the Yamaha Vino scooter used by character Shima Rin, though all vehicles are welcome. Temple staff will lead the cycles around the grounds, which is not something normally permitted. A prayer for traffic safety will be held by the head priest, after which stickers with unique character designs will be offered. The traffic safety stickers will subsequently be available for sale to all temple visitors. The new designs this year feature Ōgaki Chiaki and Kagamihara Sakura, in two sizes. Similar events were held in 2019 and 2021 and were very well received.
Kasumi Air tobidashi
Heavy rain during 2021 damaged some of the Air tobidashi in Kasumi, Kami, Hyōgo Prefecture. Kirishima Kano was repaired and returned to the field. Kamio Misuzu was damaged beyond repair. In the interim, Tōno Minagi has also reached a state of significant deterioration. New tobidashi for Misuzu and Minagi are currently in process. Photos: tweet 1
— 香美町香住観光協会＠7/23香住ふるさとまつり (@kasumi_kanko) March 30, 2022
Tatebayashi Yorimoi exchange notebook
In February, Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture outfitted one of its local buses with a Sora yori mo Tōi Basho wrapping, covered previously. At the time, @MugichocoUmeeee expressed intent to install a pilgrimage exchange notebook on the bus. With the help of @_choko_mint_ and original illustration by @arakky1975, the notebook is now on the bus. Good job, everyone! Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2
Takayama Hyōka locations
Chūnichi Shimbun continues its series of articles about locations associated with works by Takayama native author Yonezawa Honobu (米澤穂信), who received the 2022 Naoki Prize for his most recent novel, Kokurōjō. The five stories published this week cover locations from the Kotenbu series, either directly mentioned in the novels or from the Kyoto Animation series Hyōka, which is based on them. They include the Tochibora area (栃洞地区) in Kamiokachō, Hida, and in Takayama, there is Hie Jinja (日枝神社), onsen ryokan Sansō Yu no Sato (山荘 湯乃里), the Takayama City library Kanshōkan (煥章館), and the festival Ikibina Matsuri (生き雛まつり).
Takehara Tamayura TV special
NHK produced and previously aired a TV special (landing page) titled Anime Seichi Tabi Takehara: Hiroshima Tamayura no Butai e (アニメ聖地旅 竹原 ～広島「たまゆら」の舞台へ～), featuring vocalist Miyata Toshiya (宮田俊哉) from Kis-My-Ft2 touring Tamayura locations in Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture, accompanied and guided by director Satō Jun’ichi (佐藤順一), covered previously. The original broadcast on January 29 was for the NHK Chūgoku region only, and was also available for playback with video-on-demand NHK+ until February 12. NHK announced it will rebroadcast this special nationwide on April 4. Media coverage: Otakomu
Wakayama Summer Time promotion
As had been announced previously, a ceremony appointing Kofune Ushio, the main character of upcoming series Summer Time Rendering, as the first “Wakayama City Anime Tourism Ambassador” (和歌山市アニメ観光大使) was held on March 24. The series, which is set in Wakayama City and includes characters speaking Wakayama dialect, premieres April 14. Tanaka Yasuki, the creator of the manga on which the series is based, is also from Wakayama City.
In the original announcement, it was stated that the character will be used in marketing communications promoting tourism to the city, but the specifics of this arrangement were not revealed. At the ceremony, Wakayama City mayor Obana Masahiro (尾花正啓) indicated, “I heard that scenery in Tomogashima, Kada and Saikazaki will be animated. I want to disseminate information about these wonderful places all over the country.” In response, producer Matsuzaki Tomoki (松崎友貴) communicated, “It would be great if people who watch the anime can visit for seichijunrei.” Events and installation of character panels have been planned. Media coverage: Mainichi Shimbun, NHK, Wakayama Keizai Shimbun, Chō Animedia
Comment: At the time of original announcement, the vagueness of the marketing relationship left open the possibility that this would not be another attempt to engineer anime pilgrimage. But given the current environment in which this approach has become ubiquitous, it’s rarely a surprise when this happens, anymore. Sure enough, the other shoe has dropped. I’ve heard good things about the manga and I’m still looking forward to the anime. I hope the location-based promotions are not too prescriptive.
Yokosuka Shenmue promotion
Yokosuka Customer Attraction Promotion and Attractiveness Dissemination Executive Committee (横須賀集客促進・魅力発信実行委員会) will organize the Shenmue × Yokosuka Animation Commemorative Project (シェンムー×横須賀 アニメ化記念プロジェクト), a promotional campaign that will run from April 23 to June 26. The campaign will include distribution of a “seichijunrei map” (聖地巡礼マップ), exhibition of production materials from the game and anime versions, shopping promotion, location-oriented smartphone games with different versions targeting users who travel to Yokosuka and those who are playing remotely, and a live streamed event on April 29 featuring voice and production staff from the series. News release: Sega. Media coverage: IGN Japan, Comic Natalie, Go Guy Net, Famitsu.com, Mantanweb
Hokuto Super Cub map
Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture published an official Super Cub “butaitanbou map” and began distribution on March 25. The map includes locations in Mukawachō that appear in the series, as well as tourist facilities within Hokuto.
Odaiba Love Live promotion
Shopping mall Decks Tokyo Beach (デックス東京ビーチ) in Daiba, Minato Ward will open a mockup of the club room from Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Dōkōkai on April 2. This is the first in a planned series of promotional tie-ups at the mall coinciding with the anime second season broadcast. Media coverage: JMAG News, Edge Line
Current Season Pilgrimage
Past Season Pilgrimage
@niceboathime made a pilgrimage to Taimeiken in Nihonbashi, Chūō Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san. The shop moved to a new location in Nihonbashi-Muromachi in 2021 April, but this visit was made in 2018, at the location depicted in the work.