What is anime pilgrimage?
Anime pilgrimage is any practice that involves travel motivated by the use of real locations as the basis for settings and background art of anime works. Seichijunrei (聖地巡礼 sacred site pilgrimage) is a broad category of activities, the only fixed requirement being to physically move to the locations in question. Butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting) is more specific, a disciplined practice that generally involves searching for locations without preexisting guides or references, taking photographs precisely composed to match the cuts from the work as closely as possible, and usually describes investigative work that happens concurrently with or soon after the initial broadcast or screening of new works. A seichijunrei-sha (聖地巡礼者) is someone who engages in seichijunrei. A butaitanbou-sha (舞台探訪者) is someone who engages in butaitanbou. On this website, these activities are collectively referred to in English as anime pilgrimage, or just pilgrimage.
Please pardon our dust while we work!
If you’re seeing this message, this article is still a work-in-process. The target breath and depth of information are such that I anticipate it will take the rest of 2020 and a good part of 2021 to get it to a stable state, as I work on it one piece at a time. In fact, I don’t plan for this introduction to ever be complete. It will be a perpetual beta version, always incorporating new information and revising existing material as needed. I’ve put it up as a live page despite it being just the bones at this point, so you can see changes as they happen, rough notes, half baked ideas and all. If there’s anything you’d like to see here, by all means get in touch.
Table of Contents
Part I. Theory
- Contents Tourism
- Live Action
- Music Videos
- Light Novels
- Visual Novels and Games
- Media Mix
- Etymology of Seichijunrei
- Just go!
- Common Practices
- On Location Cosplay
- Tabearuki Seichijunrei
- Etymology of Butaitanbou
- Butaitanbou Methods
- Other Terms
Part II. History
- Anime Pilgrimage Prehistory 1907 to 1973: Laying the Groundwork
- Anime Pilgrimage 1974: The Beginning
- Anime Pilgrimage 1975 to 1984: Gap Years
- Anime Pilgrimage 1985 to 1993: Earliest Works with Japan Locations
- Anime Pilgrimage 1994 to 2003: Internet Publishing
- Anime Pilgrimage 2004 to 2006: Social Media, The 1000th Summer, Haruhiism and Taiyaki, Uguu!
- Anime Pilgrimage 2007: First Rights Holder Collaboration
- Anime Pilgrimage 2008: Nanto, Nantonaku
- Anime Pilgrimage 2009: Endless Fuwa Fuwa Time
- Anime Pilgrimage 2010 to 2015: The Halcyon Years
- Anime Pilgrimage 2016: What’s in a Name?
- Anime Pilgrimage 2017: Cat’s Out of the Bag
- Anime Pilgrimage 2018 to Present: Commodification
Part III. Practice
- Anime Pilgrimage Subculture Community Norms
- Research and Information Sharing
- Community Engagement
- Academics and Journalists
- Information, Guides and Maps
- Anime Real Life Locations Map
- Places to Go, Things to Do, People to See
- Exchange Notebooks
- Fan Art
- Meeting Places
- Notable Individuals
- Planning an Anime Pilgrimage
- Practical considerations
General overview of contents tourism is helpful for putting anime pilgrimage into context.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Tourism – What does the word “tourism” mean, specifically? (varies by time period, culture, socioeconomic status, etc.) What does it mean in “contents tourism”?
Tale of Genji – Contents tourism is as old as content itself.
Onomichi film comission
Suzumiya Haruhi series
Visual Novels and Games
Hibike! Euphonium – One millennium later, give or take a few years, in the same city of Uji, contents tourism returns full circle.
Does it make sense to differentiate by medium? Where do you draw the lines?
Etymology of Seichijunrei
What are the origins of the term seichijunrei?
Who, besides anime pilgrims, uses or has used the term seichijunrei?
How does anime pilgrimage subculture subculture define its use of the term seichijunrei? When, where, how did the term come into use?
On Location Cosplay
Seichijunrei adjacent gourmet adventures
Foodstuffs featured on-screen or implied in a work, with or not physical premises of producer depicted, unique identifiable producer, usually a small business, but not always. (ex: Kōei-dō chestnut manju, Banderole Noppo)
Fans of Kantai Collection visit Yura Jinja in Miyazu, Kyoto Prefecture, which includes a monument to the light cruiser Yura. They are increasingly participating in volunteer cleanup efforts of shrine grounds, leading to more opportunities for interaction with local residents. Kyoto Shimbun
Kimetsu no Yaiba
(contents tourism yes, but not seichijunrei or butaitanbou)
Author museums (unless the location is used as a setting in works)
^ Ishinomori Manga Museum
^ Monkey Punch/Lupin museum; Hamanaka, Kushiro Subprefecture, Hokkaidō Prefecture; https://amojinwanderland.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/hamanaka-town-of-monkey-punch/
Statues/memorials unrelated to settings in works
^ One Piece/Kumamoto https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200828/p2a/00m/0na/018000c
^ Gundam statues
Events/exhibitions unrelated to settings in works
^ Machi Asobi
Theme parks unrelated to settings in works
^ Sanrio Puroland
Etymology of Butaitanbou
When, where, how did the term butaitanbou come into use?
Section should address evolution of methods. Availability of consumer internet, self-publishing platforms, social media, Google Street View are major inflection points.
Location hunting – When used as a loan word in Japanese, location hunting almost always refers to scouting work done by anime production teams during pre-production. Sometimes this is part of scenario development. Occasionally, English speakers use the term location hunting to describe activity consistent with seichijunrei.
Anime Pilgrimage Prehistory 1907 to 1973: Laying the Groundwork
Briefly trace history of anime, noting significant use of real locations, if they exist.
Katsudō Shashin (活動写真) – First animated film in Japan, as early as 1907
Earliest commercial Japanese animation dates to 1917
Lupin the Third Part I (1971 October 24) – ??
Anime Pilgrimage 1974: The Beginning
Heidi, Girl of the Alps (1974 January 6) – Maienfeld, Switzerland
Anime Pilgrimage 1975 to 1984: Gap Years
Lupin the Third Part II (1977 October 3) – ??
Lupin III Part III (1984 March 3) – ??
Anime Pilgrimage 1985 to 1993: Earliest Works with Japan Locations
Megazone 23 – Part I (1985 March 9) – Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku, Tokyo Metropolis
Karuizawa Syndrome (1985 July 5) – Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture
Maison Ikkoku (1986 March 26) – Higashikurume, Tokyo Metropolis
Megazone 23 – Part II (1986 May 30) – Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku, Tokyo Metropolis
My Neighbor Totoro (1988 April 16) – Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture
Grave of the Fireflies (1988 April 16) – Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989 July 29) – Ross Village Bakery in Ross, Tasmania, Australia (unconfirmed fan theory)
Megazone 23 – Part III (1989 September 28) – Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku, Tokyo Metropolis
Kyūkyoku Chōjin R (1991 September 26) – Tagiri Station, Iijima, Nagano Prefecture
Sailor Moon (1992 March 7) – Azabu-jūban, Minato Ward, Tokyo Metropolis
Tenchi Muyō! Ryōōki (1992 September 25) – Konkō-chō Kamitake, Asakuchi and Okusaka, Sōja (both Okayama Prefecture); OVAs were the first, but this is a sprawling series. Other media, when, where?
Before the internet, there were information sharing meetups facilitated through doujinshi. How else did they communicate?
What roles did doujinshi play throughout the history of anime pilgrimage?
When did consumer internet use begin in Japan?
Where did people share information online before social media and blogs? What did they share? (Usenet? BBS?)
What social media platforms were available, when? Which ones were used by butaitanbou-sha/seichijunrei-sha?
Anime Pilgrimage 1994 to 2003: Internet Publishing
For publishing platforms, these are the service established dates, but when were they actually available and widely used in Japan? Other platforms?
GeoCities launched (1994 November)
Whisper of the Heart (1995 July 15) – Tama, Tokyo Metropolis
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 October 4) – Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture
Initial D First Stage (1998 April 8) – Gunma Prefecture; sprawling series, needs research.
Blogger launched (1999 August 23)
Read or Die OVA (2001 May 23) – Jinbōchō, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis
Spirited Away (2001 July 20) – Dōgo Onsen main building (道後溫泉本館) in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture; Kanaguya (金具屋) in Shibu Onsen (渋温泉), Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture; Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum (江戸東京たてもの園) in Koganei, Tokyo Metropolis; Jiufen (九份) in New Taipei City, Taiwan
Please Teacher! (2002 January 10) – Lake Kizaki, Nagano Prefecture
WordPress launched (2003 May 27)
Please Twins! (2003 July 15) – Lake Kizaki, Nagano Prefecture
R.O.D the TV (2003 October 1) – Hong Kong, Tokyo?
Anime Pilgrimage 2004 to 2006: Social Media, The 1000th Summer, Haruhiism and Taiyaki, Uguu!
Mixi launched (2004 March 3)
Air (2005 January 6) – Mihama and Gobō, Wakayama Prefecture; Kasumi (now Kami), Hyōgo Prefecture
YouTube launched (2005 February 14)
Kamichu! (2005 June 28) – Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006 April 2) – First broadcast; Nishinomiya and Amagasaki, Hyōgo Prefecture
Higurashi When They Cry (2006 April 4) – Shirakawa-gō, Gifu Prefecture
Twitter launched (2006 July 15)
Kanon (2006 October 5)
Anime Pilgrimage 2007: First Rights Holder Collaboration
Lucky Star (2007 April 8) – Washinomiya (now Kuki) and Satte, Saitama Prefecture; Kadokawa is rights holder, gave permission for Kuki and Satte tourism tie-ins. Despite the commodification that would rapidly take off elsewhere a decade later, to this day these tie-ins have by and large remained low-key affairs. Fukuhara Kaori, otaku meetups…
Clannad (2007 October 4)
Anime Pilgrimage 2008: Nanto, Nantonaku
True Tears (2008 January 6)
2008 April 12 was the date of the first Butaitanbou Summit, held at Lake Kizaki in Nagano Prefecture (Onegai Teacher/Onegai Twins), which brought together anime pilgrims and scene hunters from across Japan, and was the day the Butaitanbou-sha Community was formally established. https://twitter.com/BTC_info__/status/984185312644448257
Clannad After Story (2008 October 3)
Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens (2008 October 4) – Shichigahama, Miyagi Prefecture
Anime Pilgrimage 2009: Endless Fuwa Fuwa Time
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2009 April 3) – Rebroadcast with new episodes; Nishinomiya and Amagasaki, Hyōgo Prefecture
K-On! (2009 April 3) – TBS is rights holder, to this day has not officially recognized Toyosatochō in Inukami, Shiga Prefecture as a pilgrimage site, though it has given the town the right to sell officially licensed merchandise. Also Kyoto, Fukushima, Kamogawa Chiba (s2?)
Summer Wars (2009 August 1) – Ueda, Nagano Prefecture
Anime Pilgrimage 2010 to 2015: The Halcyon Years
Durarara!! (2010 January 8) – Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo Metropolis
K-On!! (2010 April 7) – Toyosato, Shiga Prefecture; Kyoto
Tamayura OVA (2010 November 26) – Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture
Hanasaku Iroha (2011 April 3) – Yuwaku Onsen, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
Steins;Gate (2011 April 6) – Akihabara (Soto-Kanda), Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (2011 April 14) – Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture
YuruYuri (2011 July 5) – Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture
Tamayura: Hitotose (2011 October 3) – Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture
Chihayafuru (2011 October 4) – Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture; Awara, Fukui Prefecture; Tokyo
K-On! The Movie! (2011 December 3) – Toyosato, Shiga Prefecture; Kyoto; London
Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne (2012 January 8) – Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture
Waiting in the Summer (2012 January 10) – Komoro, Nagano Prefecture
Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (2012 April 4) – ??
Natsuiro Kiseki (2012 April 6)
Hyouka (2012 April 22) – Takayama, Gifu Prefecture
Tari Tari (2012 July 1)
YuruYuri♪♪ (2012 July 2) – Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture
Wolf Children (2012 July 21) – Kamiichi, Toyama Prefecture; https://ookamikodomonohananoie.jp/
Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions (2012 October 4) – Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture
Girls und Panzer (2012 October 9) – Ōarai, Ibaraki Prefecture
Love Live! (2013 January 6) Tokyo; Kanagawa Prefecture
Tamako Market (2013 January 10) – Kyoto
Chihayafuru 2 (2013 January 11) – Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture; Awara, Fukui Prefecture; Tokyo
Red Data Girl (2013 March 16)
Tamayura: More Aggressive (2013 July 3) – Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecgture
Free! Iwatobi Swim Club (2013 July 4) – Iwami, Tottori Prefecture
The Eccentric Family (2013 July 7) – Kyoto
Beyond the Boundary (2013 October 2) – Nara and Kashihara, Nara Prefecture
Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea (2013 October 3)
Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions -Heart Throb- (2014 January 8)
Love Live! S2 (2014 April 6)
Is the Order a Rabbit? (2014 April 10) – Colmar, France
Free! Eternal Summer (2014 July 2) – Iwami, Tottori Prefecture
Glasslip (2014 July 3) Mikuni, Sakai; Awara; Fukui City? (all Fukui Prefecture)
Celestial Method (2014 October 5) – Sōbetsu and Tōyako, Iburi Subprefecture; Sapporo (all Hokkaidō Prefecture)
Shirobako (2014 October 9) – Musashino, Tokyo Metropolis
Your Lie in April (2014 October 9) – Nerima Ward, Tokyo Metropolis
YuruYuri Nachuyachumi! OVA (2014 November 29) – Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture
Durarara!!×2 (2015 January 10) – Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo Metropolis
Sound! Euphonium (2015 April 8) – Uji, Kyoto Prefecture
Beyond the Boundary -I’ll Be Here- Future (2015 April 25) – Nara and Kashihara, Nara Prefecture; Osaka?
Charlotte (2015 July 5)
YuruYuri Nachuyachumi! + (2015 August 21) – Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture
Lupin the 3rd Part IV: The Italian Adventure (2015 October 1) – Italy, San Marino
YuruYuri San Hai! (2015 October 6) – Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture
Anime Pilgrimage 2016: What’s in a Name?
Myriad Colors Phantom World (2016 January 7) – Kamakura and Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture
Haruchika (2016 January 7) – Shizuoka Prefecture
Kuromukuro (2016 April 7) – Tateyama, Toyama City and Nanto, Toyama Prefecture
Flying Witch (2016 April 9) – Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture
Love Live! Sunshine!! (2016 July 2) – Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture; That which we call a Nishiura mikan by any other name would taste as sweet.
Your Name. (2016 August 26) – Tokyo inner wards; Hida, Gifu Prefecture
A Silent Voice (2016 September 17) – Ōgaki, Gifu Prefecture
Sound! Euphonium 2 (2016 October 6) – Uji, Kyoto Prefecture
Yuri!!! on Ice (2016 October 6) – Karatsu, Saga Prefecture
In This Corner of the World (2016 November 12) – Hiroshima City and Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture
“Seichijunrei” is named among top 10 words of the year by Jiyū Kokumin Sha; “Kimi no Na wa.” is among 30 nominees.
Anime Pilgrimage 2017: Cat’s Out of the Bag
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (2017 January 11)
Sakura Quest (2017 April 5) – Nanto, Toyama Prefecture
The Eccentric Family 2 (2017 April 9) – Kyoto
2017 August 26: Anime Tourism Association Anime Tourism Association Anime Seichi 88 Site final list for 2018 announced https://likeafishinwater.com/2017/08/31/weekly-review-of-transit-place-and-culture-in-anime-243/
Love Live! Sunshine!! S2 (2017 October 7) – Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture; Hakodate, Oshima Subprefecture, Hokkaidō Prefecture
Anime Pilgrimage 2018 to Present: Commodification
Anime pilgrimage is dead, long live anime pilgrimage!
Yuru Camp (2018 January 4) – Yamanashi Prefecture; Shizuoka Prefecture
Violet Evergarden (2018 January 11) – Germany; Kyoto (sort of); other?
Uma Musume Pretty Derby (2018 April 2)
Lupin the Third Part 5 (2018 April 4) – France
Free! Dive to the Future (2018 July 11) – Iwami, Tottori Prefecture; Tokyo
Zombie Land Saga (2018 October 4) – Saga City, Karatsu, Imari and Ureshino, Saga Prefecture
Iroduku: The World in Colors (2018 October 6) – Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture
Tsurune (2018 October 22) – Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture
2018 October 29: Anime Tourism Association Japanese Anime 88-Stop Pilgrimage 2019 edition list announced https://likeafishinwater.com/2018/11/15/weekly-review-of-transit-place-and-culture-in-anime-293/
Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow (2019 January 4) – Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture; Europe
Sarazanmai (2019 April 11) – Taito and Sumida wards, Tokyo Metropolis
Weathering With You (2019 July 19) – Tokyo inner wards; Kōzushima, Ōshima Subprefecture, Tokyo Metropolis
Chihayafuru 3 (2019 October 22) – Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture; Awara, Fukui Prefecture; Tokyo
Heya Camp (2020 January 6) – Yamanashi Prefecture; other?
Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! (2020 July 10) – Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture; Kōbe, Hyōgo Prefecture; Tottori Prefecture
Anime Pilgrimage Subculture Community Norms
Meiwaku – Is to be avoided as much as possible.
Communicating intention – Is essential.
Sharing knowledge – Ikigai.
Schools – Do not enter school grounds without explicit permission. Do not publish photos where faces of students or staff are identifiable.
Private residences – Under no circumstances should the detailed address of an individual residence unit be revealed in text or images on any openly accessible website or social media platform.
Collegiality – No community is free from tensions or drama, but by and large butaitanbou-sha are extraordinarily collaborative…
When restraint requests become overzealous
^ Katabuchi Sunao https://likeafishinwater.com/2017/01/13/weekly-review-of-transit-place-and-culture-in-anime-211/
^ Soraao shrine https://fun-chichibu.com/22430/
^ Ōgaki hair salon
Research and Information Sharing
I forget what this was supposed to be about. It will come back to me, I hope. (><)
Butaitanbou-sha and seichijunrei-sha who act as bridges between visitors and locals, who encourage civic space and dialog
^ Chichibu cleanup volunteers. Asahi Shimbun
Butaitanbou-sha and seichijunrei-sha who relocate to seichi, often to take roles in local government or businesses
^ Hyouka fan inspired by the anime series to move to Takayama, Gifu Prefecture and apply for a position in local government. He is now part of Takayama’s overseas strategy division. Chintai Jōhōkyoku
Academics and Journalists
Information, Guides and Maps
likeafishinwater.com – 2012; Michael Vito (@mjvito); pilgrimages, Weekly Review of Transit, Place and Culture in Anime
Anime Tourism Association
Anime vs. Real Life
Anime Real Life Locations Map
Places to Go, Things to Do, People to See
Maybe some of these are better incorporated into the history sections? Not sure yet.
All of them! Realistically, where are the ones of most interest to overseas visitors?
(special discussion of Shiga Prefecture, others?)
Cafe Dream (Nishinomiya)
Saizeriya Shukugawa (Nishinomiya) *closed
<tea house name?> (Takehara)
Cafe Sando (Kashihara)
Matsutei (Kichijōji) https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1320/A132001/13082213/
らんぶる (Takaoka) https://nobumichi02.hatenadiary.org/entry/20150423/1429797625
Choco de Ninmari (Uji) *closed
Planning an Anime Pilgrimage
Seaton, Philip; Yamamura, Takayoshi; Sugawa-Shimada, Akiko; Jang; Kyungjae (2017 March 25). Contents Tourism in Japan: Pilgrimages to “Sacred Sites” of Popular Culture. Cambria Press. ISBN 9781604979732
Seaton, Philip; Yamamura, Takayoshi (2014 December 13). “Japanese Popular Culture and Contents Tourism – Introduction”. Japan Forum. 27 (1): 1-11. doi:10.1080/09555803.2014.962564.
Yamamura, Takayoshi (2014 December 11). “Contents tourism and local community response: Lucky star and collaborative anime-induced tourism in Washimiya”. Japan Forum. 27 (1): 59-81. doi:10.1080/09555803.2014.962567.
Okamoto, Takeshi (2014 December 11). “Otaku tourism and the anime pilgrimage phenomenon in Japan”. Japan Forum. 27 (1): 12-36. doi:10.1080/09555803.2014.962565.
Seaton, Philip (2014 December 15). “Taiga dramas and tourism: historical contents as sustainable tourist resources”. Japan Forum. 27 (1): 82-103. doi:10.1080/09555803.2014.962568.
Okamoto, Takeshi (2020). “コンテンツツーリズムとインバウンド－現実空間・情報空間・虚構空間の移動を考える” [Contents Tourism and Inbound: Considering Movement of Real Space, Information Space and Fictional Space]. IATSS Review. 45 (1): 51-57. doi:10.24572/iatssreview.45.1_51. ISSN 0386-1104
Ōishi, Gen (2020 March 31). “アニメ《舞台探訪》成立史・新訂版：いわゆる《聖地巡礼》の起源と紀元” [Introduction to the history of anime tourism: Newly revised edition]. 富山県立大学紀要. 30: 25-35. ISSN 09167633
Ōishi, Gen. 舞台探訪アーカイブ. wikiwiki.jp/legwork.
Nanba, Yūki (2019 March 2). “聖地巡礼の美学”. lichtung.hateblo.jp. Lichtung Criticism
Sakai, Tōru (2017 April 28). “Anime ‘Pilgrimages’ Create New Tourist Destinations”. nippon.com. Nippon Communications Foundation.
Okamoto, Takeshi (2019 October 24). “Pilgrims and Prejudice: The Kyoto Animation Arson Attack in the Media”. nippon.com. Nippon Communications Foundation.
Yamamura’s list of readings http://database.jsas.net/mapping/en/recommendations/yamamura/
History of anime https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_anime