The Anime Tourism Association created a list with 88 anime-related places otaku fans should visit in Japan. The places were chosen by anime fans from all around the world. Anime-related places refer to real-life locations that were used in anime works. These places are called ‘sacred’ by the fans and people who actively seek them are said to go to a ‘sacred place pilgrimage’.
The list has places from series that aired after 2000, when the ‘pilgrimage’ became more popular. For example, the well known anime movie Your Name uses Hida in Gifu as a model for the town Itomori, in which the heroine Mitsuha lives. This town as well as Shinjuku in Tokyo, where Taki is living, were selected as one of the sacred places. But, of course, places used in older series made it into the list as well, like Tsurikichi Sanpei. It’s a series about fishing and is set in Yokote in Akita prefecture.
Lucky Star is the series to have set this kind of pilgrimage in motion, as it is set in Kuki, Saitama, also included in the list. Anko Matsuri in Oarai, Ibaraki was added thanks to the fans of Girls & Panzer. Part of the ranking is Nanto in Toyama, because it was used in the series true tears. The production company of this and many other series, P.A.Works, is located there as well. The anime series Ohenro also made the list. The locations are mostly in Shikoku, as the series is depicting the story of the real pilgrimage to the 88 temples (this is also the reason for making it 88 locations on the list of sacred anime locations). Kamogawa in Chiba prefecture is known to have gained a lot of visitors after becoming an anime pilgrimage location through Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne.
While those series are all stories that depict everyday-life, it is also amazing to see that series with science-fiction elements like Stein’s Gate or Accel World added significantly to the pilgrimage list. And not only anime, but also shows like Ultraman have provided the list with sacred places, like Sukagawa in Fukushima.
Of course, there are also other spots an otaku has to see, which weren’t the location of an anime. Amusement parks, museums, and events also made the list. Here a few examples: Hasegawa Machiko Art Museum (Setagaya, Tokyo), Ome Fujio Akatsuka Kaikan (Ome, Tokyo), Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum (Takarazuka, Hyogo), Kyoto International Manga Museum (Kyoto, Kyoto), Kitakyushu Manga Museum (Kitakyushu, Fukuoka), Chibi Maruko-chan Land (Shimizu, Shizuoka), Sanrio Character Park Harmony Land (Fujiwara, Oita), World Cosplay Summit (Nagoya, Aichi), Machi*Asobi (Toushima) etc.
There were also three unique spots voted into the list. One is Narita Airport (Narita, Chiba) the second one is the information for the 88 sacred places pilgrimage of anime (Chiyoda, Tokyo) and the Tourist Information at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Shinjuku, Tokyo).
Although there were many places listed in this article, we wonder if they were what you expected? Do you know all the mentioned series? If not, take the chance and watch the anime. Maybe you will like them so much and add another place to go to when you come to Japan to make your own sacred pilgrimage.