5 Famous Anime Scenes You Can Visit
Japan has made its mark on the world through its various animations, also known as anime. Aside from the storylines, anime is well known for its beautiful illustrations of landscapes and scenery. Luckily for fans, much of this scenery is based on real-life places that you can visit in Japan.
Hakone Shrine – Neon Genesis Evangelion
Hakone is located an hour and a half south of Tokyo, and is most famous for its shrine that seems to be built within a lake. One of Japan’s most famous TV animes, Neon Genesis Evangelion, takes place in the future—and believe it or not, Hakone is illustrated as Tokyo-III in the show. Lake Ashi and Hakone Shrine are even seen in some scenes from the anime. Because of Neon Genesis Evangelion, you will see many of the characters around the Hakone tourist spots, as well as in some convenience stores!
Suga Shrine – Your Name
Kimi no Na Wa, or Your Name, is a popular anime movie that draws heavily on the architecture and landscape of Shinjuku city. If you get off at Yotsuya-Sanchome station, you will come across Suga Shrine. It is not the shrine itself that draws attention to tourists, but instead, it is the red rails on the stairs leading up to the shrine. This particular set of stairs has been said to inspire the main cover of Your Name, and is also where the two main characters meet for the first time. At the top of the stairs, you will find a shrine that is indeed beautiful. A few train stations away, you will see other familiar scenes from Your Name in Shinjuku.
Cafe La Bohéme – Your Name
Continuing with Your Name, near Shinjuku-Gyoen-Mae station is a café where one of the main characters worked. This is a great place to visit if you are a big fan of the movie, because every single detail from the outside to the inside is an almost an exact replica of what was depicted in Your Name. The kitchen is located upstairs, connected by one set of stairs to the dining room, which has the waiters running up and down the stairs to serve you food, just like Taki/Mitsuha. The place is fancy enough that there is a dress code—so if you are deciding to have some great Italian food in Japan, make sure to dress accordingly!
Notoya Ryokan – Spirited Away
One of Studio Ghibli’s most popular films, Spirited Away takes place in sort of a “spirit world” bath house, or onsen. In the movie, the main character finds herself lost in the onsen, first by crossing a red bridge. The red bridge, as well as the front of the onsen in the movie, was inspired by Notoya Ryokan. Located in Yamagata, this ryokan may not look much like how the onsen in Spirited Away looked on the inside, but the front entrance view is very similar. Visit at night for a more magical experience—when lanterns are turned on and the red bridge is illuminated.
Yakushima – Princess Mononoke
Another Ghibli film, Princess Mononoke, tells the story of a girl who was raised by wolves in the forest. The forest is filled with spirits and long branches of old trees. The scenery was inspired by Yakushima, which is an island overrun by trees and lush, mossy forest. A certain area of the forest (a ravine), has now been called “Princess Mononoke’s forest,” and the illustrations in the movie very much capture the magical essence of the Yakushima forest.