Part 1 is here:
Explore the Anime Side of Kyoto with a Local Otaku (Part 1)
Hi otaku reader of MANGA.TOKYO! It’s Ayumi again with the second part of my Kyoto guide! Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga has been making me cry every week (I always read our reviews for more info), and I completely caved in at Episode 5. The character development of Rin and the other characters is totally piercing my heart… If you have a favorite scene, let’s talk about it in the comments!
In continuation of Part 1 of my Kyoto otaku guide, let me introduce you to the pilgrimage spots for Blue Exorcist, as a (sort of) Kyotoite. These spots can be found in the 9th volume of manga! They are all well-known in Kyoto, but I’m sure you’ll be surprised to learn they appeared in manga if you see them from the perspective of an anime pilgrimage. Oh, and don’t miss out the important notice at the end of this article!
I hope this article will help you with your Japan tour somehow! Now let’s check them out ~
Kamogawa/Kamo River: Pilgrimage spots for various anime series!
The Kamo river is a Class A river that runs for about 23 kilometers through Kyoto city. Most, if not all, of anime series set in Kyoto have this river appearing in it: The Tatami Galaxy, The Eccentric Family, K-On! and so many more. If you don’t remember where it appeared in K-On!, just re-watch the first season opening. See? Aren’t they biking and running by the river? [laugh] It’s also this river when they are stepping on stones! Its length is about 23 kilometers, and the scenery varies a lot from the upstream to the downstream. It really doesn’t matter where you see it, because you can enjoy its really Kyoto-ish scenery either way; it’s a beautiful spot.
The Starbucks by the river is the only spot to enjoy ‘Kawayuka’ (a wooden terrace over the river)! I couldn’t help but take a shot of its retro appearance. It’s just a normal Starbucks once you go inside, but it looks cool. It’s super-popular and people often wait in a long line.
Yukio stood still around this spot with Shijou-Oohashi Bridge. It often appears on TV shows that are set in Kyoto. The sound of the stream is so vibrant and you can see the beautiful river as well. You can sometimes find ducks swimming in it.
I personally love and recommend this spot because of the thickening dusk with the shops’ lights getting lit one by one. It really gives you the feeling of retro Kyoto.
So, where were the exorcists playing together? I think the correct answer is the upper north from Shijou, because you can play in the water there. I’m sure you would want to get in the water barefoot during the summer. The Kamo River is where you can fully enjoy spending your youth, and that may be the reason why many anime series have this river appearing in them. I wish I could play in a high school uniform in the water… It’s a bit too much of a fantasy for me!! Maybe I should try it as a cosplay.
The Daiyasu pickles that Rin ate!
Do you remember that Rin and Shiemi were eating pickles called Kyou tsukemono (Kyoto pickles), Daiyasu? The two visited the Kiyomizudera Branch. Daiyasu is a franchise with many shops and that’s why you can buy the same products at different branches. They sell their standard Senmai-zuke (pickles using Kyoto’s native radish with seaweed, red pepper and vinegar) even in small packages as souvenirs for tourists! That way you don’t have to worry ending up with a heavy luggage at the airport.
Pickles are popular souvenirs from Kyoto! If your friends love Blue Exorcist, why don’t you consider getting them small packages? My personal favorite is the pickled mountain yam (yamaimo) with wasabi.
Bibliotic Cafe: Shiemi’s Sweet Request
Cafe Bibliotic Hello!
Shiemi requested that she wanted to eat some Japanese sweets such as Anmitsu or Kuzukiri. This cafe is highly regarded by a secret few. It has a very calm atmosphere with a lot of green and it fits Shiemi well. It’s absolutely the spot Shiemi would choose to visit and you’ll definitely smile when you do as well.
It’s very quiet inside. They had some comfortable music like Jazz and Bossanova playing. Unfortunately, as I visited this cafe in the middle of the winter, I couldn’t find Kuzukiri and Anmitsu on their menu. (These two desserts are generally considered summer sweets.)
So, instead, I ordered a seasonal sweet most suited for winter, a baked apple.
It was a rich and luxurious winter dessert, a small apple with Haagen Dazs Ice cream. They seem to have different menus every season. Since I am a local, I have to check it out every season through the year! They also have many different beverages on the menu, and you can even fill your stomach with big meals instead of just a tea break.
It’s a warm and very fashionable cafe. It is just like Shiemi. I just relaxed and I ended up staying for too long. They only had one frame of this cafe in the anime, but this is definitely one of the ‘must’ spots every fan should visit. I’m sure you’ll love its unique atmosphere.
Address: 650 Seimeichou, Yanagi no banba Higashi Hairu, Nijou-doori, Chuukyou-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto prefecture
Open: 12:00 Close: 23:00
Kyoto Municipal Subway: The Tozai Line ‘Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae,’ 6 minutes walk to the northwest from Exit 9.
515 meters from Marutamachi Station (Kyoto Municipal Subway: The Karasuma Line)
Closed on Tuesdays.
Tips for walking around Kyoto
I might have made this pilgrimage guide a bit too niche, compared to the last article… It took me ages to find these spots, especially this cafe! [laugh] Well, these spots are for those advanced level tourists who are already bored with the usual sightseeing places every tourist has been to! Of course it’s neat to see shrines and temples too, but isn’t it great to check out the places normal tourists don’t even know exist? In particular, the Cafe Bibliotic Hello! I introduced above was fleetingly showed in the anime and not many fans know that it has appeared in the Blue Exorcist series. I’ve surprised quite a few otaku fans by telling them about this cafe. Truth be told, I actually enjoy having a secret bragging face like this.
Moreover, I want you to remember to purchase the below ticket when you go on this pilgrimage:
One-Day ticket for Kyoto City Bus!!
It only costs you 500 yen and you get unlimited rides on the City Bus. You can go to Kinkaku temple, Kiyomizu temple, Shijou, and anywhere that is in Kyoto city. One-ride costs you 230 yen, so you save money just by using it 3 times. You often have to transfer to many stops and stations while sightseeing in Kyoto, so I recommend to get this deal. Just get on one of Kyoto City buses, and ask for Ichinichi Jousha-ken (One-day ticket) to the driver and you can buy one. Now you have unlimited access to Kyoto City bus for one day!
Now, an important notification. As of February 2017, Kyoto Tower, the one Rin was talking about in the anime, has a collaboration project with Blue Exorcist! Of course we, the fearless MANGA.TOKYO otaku reporters, never fail to miss such an event! This is a rare opportunity for me to go up Kyoto Tower! Yes, I’d better go check it to do a coverage! And now we are planning a project. [laugh] We will very soon do a coverage of this collaboration. Dear Blue Exorcist fans, please look forward to it now! ♡Let’s enjoy Blue Exorcist both in real life and in the anime~!