5 Popular Anime Inspired by World Cities

List of famous anime series that are inspired by real-life places around the world

Anime based on the world outside Japan

Anime is pop culture contents made from Japan, and many anime series are inspired by real-life places in Japan. Visiting the anime locations is one of the most popular ways to travel in Japan these days, which is known as Anime Tourism or Anime Pilgrimage.

Of course, some popular anime series are inspired by not only Japan but also various cities around the world. Their settings are real-life cities or towns outside Japan.

Today, I’d like to introduce 5 popular anime that are inspired by the real-life cities all over the world. Check the list of world’s anime locations for anime fans to add these anime places to their bucket list on their travel abroad.

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1. Spirited Away

Jiufen: Spirited Away
Jiufen: Spirited Away

Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し), released in 2001, is one of the most famous Studio Ghibli movies directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is the highest-grossing film of all time in Japan with over 30 billion yen.

Spirited Away centers on a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro, who wanders into a weird and strange world with her parents and finds her parents are transformed into pigs due to the witchy curse. She decides to work hard in the bathhouse to help them.

There are some stories about the places that the movie is inspired by. Many fans look on Jiufen in Taiwan as a model of the world of Spirited Away. The buildings of the bathhouse in the anime movie are inspired by some Japanese buildings such as Dogo Onsen in Ehime, Nikko Toshogu Shrine in Tochigi and Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum in Tokyo according to the art director of Spirited Away.

2. Kiki’s Delivery Service

Gamla stan: Kiki's Delivery Service
Gamla stan: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki’s Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便) is a classic Studio Ghibli film released in 1989, which is adapted from the novel written by Eiko Kadono in 1985. It is known as the first Hayao Miyazaki’s directed full-length movie.

Kiki’s Delivery Service follows a 13 years old girl Kiki, who is an unmatured witch. The story starts when she leaves home for her independence with her pet black cat Jiji.

The towns that Kiki visits on her trip in the movie are inspired by some real-life towns in the world. It is officially informed that the setting of the anime is highly related to an old town Gamla stan in Stockholm, Sweden and Visby on the island of Gotland, Sweden.

3. Castle in the Sky

Wales: Castle in the Sky
Wales: Castle in the Sky

Castle in the Sky (天空の城ラピュタ), one of the most popular Studio Ghibli movies, has been loved by fans all over the world since it was first directed by Hayao Miyazaki in 1986 after Studio Ghibli was founded.

The story proceeds when the two main characters meet each other: a young boy named Pazu and a young girl named Sheeta. Her adventure with Pazu starts to run away from the air pirates and government agency.

The director Hayao Miyazaki made Castle in the Sky, based on Wales. There are many locations all over Wales that you can see in the anime film including Powis Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle and so on. Beng Mealea, a temple in the forest in Cambodia, is also a popular tourist site among the fans of Castle in the Sky since the landscape there look like some scenes in the movie.

4. Attack on Titan

Nördlingen: Attack on Titan
Nördlingen: Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人) is an action and dark-fantasy anime series, broadcasted from 2013. It is adapted from the original manga written by Hajime Isayama, and there are four seasons in the anime series. The final season is to be aired from December, 2020.

The symbol of the dark-fantasy anime is titans that make humanity stand on the edge of extinction. The main characters Eren Yeager and Mikasa Ackerman with the other Survey Corps members battle against the titans investigating why the titans exist in the world.

The modeled place is not officially announced, but major fans guess Attack on Titan is inspired by Nördlingen, a town in Germany. Nördlingen is filled with houses with orange-colored rooftop, and the entire town forms a circle like the towns surrounded by the walls in the anime.

5. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Naples: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind
Naples: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険) is a long-loved fantasy anime series. There are eight parts in the whole series from Phantom Blood to JoJolion. Four seasons of the anime series have been adapted from the original manga, which covers five parts of the manga.

The fourth season of the anime series (Part 5 of the manga) titled Golden Wind (Vento Aureo) is focused on here. Golden Wind is set in Naples, Italy in 2001, which centers on Giorno Giovanna (the son of DIO). Giorno decides to join a mafia group to become its boss in order to stop drug deals.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind is totally based on Naples in Italy. You can see lots of locations in the city that look like those in Neapolis, which the characters live in the anime. Neapolis just means Naples in Latin.

Did you enjoy the anime list with the real-life places around the world? In addition, there are a large number of anime that are inspired by real-life locations in Japan. It is also recommended to check this anime list with Japan.

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I'm writing by my motto: helping travelers spend their limited time experiencing something priceless in Japan. My articles won't let you down! Living in Tokyo and traveling many popular and hidden sites all over Japan, I deliver well-selected and latest tourist information to you from the perspective of “100% Japanese local”. My specific interests are island hopping, eating countless bowls of ramen, watching anime and reading manga. Enjoy Japan Web Magazine for recommended food spots, hidden gems Japanese Otaku (geek) culture, and everything about Japan :)