SaeKano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend (Saenai Kanojo no Sodatekata) is a 2015 anime which became extremely popular among otaku. The anime’s first season was set in the area along Tokyo Sakura Tram’s railroad. Tokyo Sakura Tram is one of the few streetcars that still runs in Tokyo today.
The main setting of the anime was the area near JR Takadanobaba Station and the area from Omokagebashi Station to Gakushuinshita Station on Tokyo Sakura Tram’s railway.
Let’s check out the real life locations of Saekano!
Starting from Omokagebashi Station
Omokagebashi Station in which the Train bounds for Ouji Station
Omokagebashi Station appears in the fourth episode, ‘Yosan to Nouki to Shintenkai (Budget, Deadline, and New Developments)’. Tomoya Aki and Megumi Katou get on the train at this station, and the two characters sit next to each other. The name of this railroad is called Toden Arakawa Line. This line is the only streetcar railroad which is still used in Tokyo today. The railway length is 12.2 kilometers, and it runs between Minowabashi Station and Waseda Station, while stopping at 30 stations in total. On 28 April 2017, the new official nickname for this railroad was announced, which is Tokyo Sakura Tram.
A Section of Tokyo Sakura Tram’s Route Map
This is a part of Tokyo Sakura Tram’s route map. The two stations which appear on Saekano are Omokagebashi and Gakushuinshita. Gakushuinshita is the station after Omokagebashi, so let’s walk rather than use the train.
The Train Fares for Tokyo Sakura Tram
You will need 170 yen to get on the Toden Arakawa Line. If you use your prepaid IC card such as Suica, it only costs 165 yen. You get on the train via the front door, and you first pay your fare. The fare is the same regardless of where you get off.
Omokagebashi Station in which the Train bounds for Waseda Station
This photo shows the landscape you can see at Omokagebashi Station while facing towards Waseda. The same scenery appears in episode 4. In the middle, you can see Omokagebashi on the other side, in which the train bounds for Waseda. The photo is taken from Omokagebashi in which the train goes toward Ouji. In the anime, this place was illustrated with the orange sunset in the background.
The Car of Tokyo Sakura Tram which bounds for Gakushuinshita Station
This is a photo of Tokyo Sakura Tram which departed from Omokagebashi, and is running toward Gakushuinshita Station. This train is different from the one Tomoya and Megumi use in the anime.
After Omokagebashi Station, Check Out the Nearby Bridge
Akebono Bridge, the Bridge On Which Utaha Kasumigaoka was Standing
This Akebono Bridge is the bridge on which Utaha Kasumigaoka is standing in the anime’s promotional video, which was released before the anime’s broadcast. It also appears in the first episode, ‘Machigai darake no Prologue (The Prologue With Many Mistakes)’. The river under this bridge is Kanda River. Akebono Bridge is located approximately 100 meters away from Omokagebashi Station. Let’s walk across this bridge, and go see Eriri Spencer Sawamura’s house! To get there, continue walking straight, and there will be a gate of a Buddhist temple on your right hand. This temple is called Nanzouin (Address: 1-19-16, Takada, Toshima Ward, Tokyo). Then, the road divides into two, so turn right and walk straight. When the road splits into two again, make a left turn. The slope starting from this point is named Fujimizaka.
Eriri’s House is on Top of Fujimizaka
The Road in the Front is Fujimizaka.
This is Fujimizaka. It first seems to be a gentle slope, but as you walk up, you will realize that it gets steeper. On top of this hill is Eriri Spencer Sawamura’s house. Fujimizaka appears in episodes 3, 7, 9, and 12. Of course, I am talking about the anime, so there is a different building on top of the slope in reality.
Eriri’s House on top of Fujimizaka
The model of Eriri’s house is Kyu-Furukawa Gardens, which is located in Nishigahara of Kita Ward, Tokyo. Originally, it was the residence of Toranosuke Furukawa, the third representative of the Furukawa Group. This group is one of the largest industrial groups in Japan. The house and garden in the photo was designed by an English architect, Josiah Conder, in 1917. He is also well-known to have designed the Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens in Ueno and Nikolai-do Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Ochanomizu. The Japanese-style garden in this place was made in 1919 by Jihei Ogawa, who is known for making the gardens in Heian Shrine and Maruyama Park in Kyoto. Kyu-Furukawa Gardens is now a national property. The country let the Tokyo Metropolitan Government open this place as a public park. The entrance fee is 150 yen.
Also, inside the building which became the model of Eriri’s house is currently managed by Otani Musuem. The museum holds guided tours around the place three times a day. If you want to join, you first must send a reply-paid postcard as an application. The one-hour tour costs 800 yen, which is separate from the entrance fee. However, you can go to the café in the first floor without any reservations. The place is also famous for its beautiful roses.
On the right hand of this photo is the direction board of Fujimizaka. Actually, there are 24 places that are named ‘Fujimizaka’ just in Tokyo. ‘Fuji’ refers to Mount Fuji. ‘Mi’ means that you can see. Therefore, this place is named Fujimizaka because you can see Mount Fuji from this slope. You can sometimes see Mount Fuji in the cold seasons, such as in January and February, when there are no clouds in the sky.
Looking at Shinjuku from Fujimizaka
In the ninth episode, Tomoya carries Eriri on his back and climbs the slope to take her home. This photo shows the landscape of Shinjuku, which appears in the background of the anime’s scene. It was nighttime in the actual scene, so the anime illustrated the beautiful skyline of Shinjuku.
Tomoya Meets Megumi at Nozokizaka
The Scenery Drawn in Saekano’s Promotional Illustration
In the first episode ‘Machigai darake no Prologue’, Tomoya, who was riding his bicycle down the road of cherry trees, has a fateful encounter with Megumi. This slope is called Nozokizaka. We have taken the photo in the same angle as the promotional illustration of the anime. In the illustration, Utaha, Eriri, and Megumi are walking down the slope, which is on the left hand of the photo. In the anime, the slope is named Tanteizaka. Nozokizaka is known to be the steepest slope within the Tokyo Metropolitan area. When you have walked up Fujimizaka, turn left and walk straight until you see 7-Eleven. If you make a left turn on the road that goes across this convenience store, you will find Nozokizaka.
Tomoya Rides Down this Slope.
In the first episode, Tomoya rides his bike down this slope in a very fast speed, but the actual slope was much steeper than it seems in the photo. Nevertheless, the people living nearby were all riding their bikes like it was nothing, just like Tomoya.
The place where Tomoya Stops his Bike and Turns Around
This is the bottom of Nozokizaka. If you make a right turn, there is the railroad crossing of Toden Arakawa Line.
In the first episode, Tomoya rides his bike in extreme speed down the slope, but he drifts and makes a sudden stop to look up at Megumi. This location also appears in the third episode, ‘Climax wa Retake (The Climax is a Retake)’. Megumi decides to help Tomoya in his game making, and the two characters walk around this area in order to expand their image of the game’s heroine.
The Place that Eriri and Utaha Hides
In the third episode, Eriri and Utaha secretly follows Tomoya and Megumi, and watches them walking down Nozokizaka. The place they were hiding is at the entrance of the building on the left.
The area near 2-17, Takada, Toshima Ward, Tokyo
The Road to School in the Anime’s Opening Sequence
This is Toden Arakawa Line’s railroad crossing on which the students of Toyogasaki Academy are walking in the anime’s opening sequence. It is the crossing near Takatobashi, to which you can get by walking from Gakushuinshita Station towards Waseda. The crossing is very close to Nozokizaka.
Let’s Go See Tomoya’s High School!
The Model of Tomoya’s School
The high school to which Tomoya commutes is named Toyogasaki Academy. The model of this school is Tokyo Animation College, which is very close to JR Takadanobaba Station. The place is rather far from Gakushuinshita Station and Omokagebashi Station if you go on foot.
Today, I have introduced to you the real life locations in Saekano, starting from Omokagebashi Station to Gakushuin Station on Toden Arakawa Line. Please try visiting these places if you ever come to Tokyo!
I have many different kinds of achievements from the comic, anime and game industry under my belt, such as writing novelisations for games including 'Onimusha 2', 'Persona' and 'Persona 2' as well as writing and directing the drama CD 'The Rose of Versailles' under the supervision of manga author Riyoko Ikeda.
In 2005, I started up the troupe 'Voice Magic', (http://nanbara1102.wixsite.com/voicemagic) which holds live performances to help up-and-coming voice actors improve their skills. I currently have strong connections to the anime and voice acting industry, and am currently offering free advice to foreign companies that are looking to make anime in Japan.