More than often, anime whose story is taking place in Japan are based on real-life locations. Manga.Tokyo, in its second Otaku Travel article, is travelling to a beautiful evening Uji to visit famous places of Sound! Euphonium!
The popular series Sound! Euphonium was aired at theaters in April, 2016 and the second season of its TV series will be broadcast in October.
Kyoto Animation (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-ON! and Hyouka) will handle the production. They are known for their high-quality background images that feature actual Japanese regions. With so many fans going on a pilgrimage(a pilgrimage visiting sacred places featured in anime) I decided to go to Kyoto.
This time, I went on a pilgrimage to Uji, a town south of Kyoto, which was featured in the TV anime series Sound! Euphonium. I arrived at the town in early evening, which was eventually the best time you can visit these sacred places. This is because most of the scenes used in the series are in the evening or during the night. While it’s not usual practice (most anime have day-time scenes) the anime is not only about an after-school club, but it’s also about the gloominess of human relationships, a distinguished feature of Sound!Euphonium.
Are you ready? Here is the recommended route to take!
If by any chance you arrived a little earlier in the town, Fushimi Inari-taisha is the perfect place to spend your time until dusk. Fushimi Inari-taisha, which is also known as the stage of the TV anime series Inari Konkon Koi Iroha, is located close to Uji-city and is a popular sightseeing spot. Especially the senbon torii Gate, a vermilion tori gate straddling a network of trails, is very impressive and many tourists visit the place every day.
It’s recommended to visit Fushimi Inari-taisha in comfortable shoes. It’s a hard climb.
Eat Bread at Oubaku Station
After noon, head for Uji. It is recommended to temporarily get off at Oubaku Station! There you can find the bakery that appeared in Sound! Euphonium! Unfortunately, it was a regular holiday when I visited but it is open every day but Tuesdays and Sundays so why don’t you drop by to grab some bread!
After arriving at Uji, look around the spots near Uji Station
Chatsubo-shaped Post in front of JR Uji Station
Our pilgrimage stars right after you arrive at Uji station. You can take your first photo at the uniwque chatsubo-shaped postbox. If you have any postcards ready , you can send them here. Especially if they are addressed to anime lovers.
The west side of Uji Bridge
Next, head for Uji Bridge. Many bridges appear in Sound! Euphonium, right? The characters visit bridges when they are frustrated or they are facing a challenge. This bridge was used in episode 08 “Festival Triangle” as a meeting place for the members of the brass band club.
Next comes the Uji Shrine. This place appeared many times in the series. It would be nice to pray here. By the way, the correct way to use water is to rinse your left hand first and then your right hand. Use your left hand again to rinse your mouth and, finally, clean the tub.
Visiting the World Heritage Site, Byodo-in Temple!
Next, visit the Byodo-in Temple which is registered as one of the World Heritage Sites. The illustration of Byodo-in Temple is used for the 10 JPY coin. While the temple did not appear in the series, it’s one of the must visit place due to its cultural significance. I’m sure that the anime staff and Michiko visited the place as well!
Experience Authentic Japanese Tea at Uji Cha Dojo, Takumi-no-Yakata
Try some matcha while you are in Uji. Uji Cha Dojo Takumi-no-Yakata is located just across Uji river from Byodo-in Temple. The authentic matcha is a little bit bitter. You can also try making macha yourself!
I enjoyed my matcha set with just 650 JPY. I made the matcha myself under the instruction of the staff. I’ve been in Japan for a long time but this was my first time actually making matcha. It was really fun.
You can ease the bitterness by eating sugar sweets first and then drinking it. You might wonder if overseas people can also participate or not but according to the staff, many overseas tourists visit the place every day!
Visit impressive sites during the afternoon
The bench where Kumiko and the others often spent time at
When the sun starts to set, visit the riverside where the main characters visited and talked to each other. There were many dramatic scenes set here such as Syuuichi and Kumiko talking to each other, and Rena trying to cover up for the teacher.
The red bridge located in front of Uji Shrine is where Kumiko, Rena and the others practice or talk after the club. This is an impressive site where Rena talked about the teacher for the first time.
The Mountain from Sawarabi no Michi
Once the sun is finally set, it’s time to go to the mountain which Kumiko and Rena climbed.
First go to the shrine which we visited before and head for the mountain from the back side.
There you will find the trail that leads you to the top. It’s a hard climb; I can’t believe Kumiko made it to the top while carrying her instrument.
After you reach the top, a majestic view is waiting for you. In the series there was a scene with Rena who seemed to be transparent like a ghost while the scenery behind her was so beautiful. After all the walking, you will surely be impressed. It would be better to start climbing up the mountain around 6:30 p.m., if you are visiting in the summer. Always plan accordingly the season.
From Osaka, take JR Osaka Loop Line Outer Circle to Kyobashi Station. From Kyobashi, take Kyohan Line Demachi Yanagi to Chushojima Station. Then transfer to Uji Line to Uji Station. I takes about one hour from Osaka Station.
It takes 27 minutes from Kyoto Station to Ujinara Line via JR Nara Line Nara. Then walk 18 minutes to Ujikyohan Line then you will be able to arrive at the place introduced here.
Last but not least, don’t forget about the second season!
— 響け！ユーフォニアム2 (@anime_eupho) September 16, 2016
Every time I go on a pilgrimage, I feel that Kyoto Animation does a really good work in location hunting. They always add that extra shade of color on the ordinary park or during an everyday life scene to make them look impressive. This pilgrimage made me want to visit Kyoto Animation and ask them secrets of anime-making. Maybe I will!
I’m looking forward to see Sound! Euphonium 2!
Sound! Euphonium 2
To be broadcast in October 2016