List of Anime Set in Real-Life Places in Japan
Anime Tourism: Let's travel in Japan visiting your favorite anime places
Anime is one of the most famous modern Japanese cultures globally these days. You can enjoy watching anime on anime streaming sites anywhere you live. Why has anime got so popular? In addition to unique characters, beautiful drawings and fictional worlds, a setting is one of the most interesting things about an anime.
Some popular anime are set in the real-life places in Japan even if they are categorized as fantasy anime. Fans both in Japan and overseas travel to the locations they see in the anime to experience the worlds inspiring them, which is known as an anime pilgrimage or anime tourism.
Today, I’d introduce popular anime inspired by the real-life locations in Japan for you to know how attractive anime tourism is. Here is the information about the names of the places and things to do around there, so that you can plan to take an anime trip to Japan!
Check the anime locations by area: Best Anime Locations to Visit in Japan!
What do you think of these best anime and anime movie lists?
Suzume (すずめの戸締まり) is Makoto Shinkai’s first road movie, released in 2022. Like his other works, it is set in real locations across Japan. The story begins in Miyazaki Prefecture, also known as the birthplace of Japanese mythology. Specifically, it is said to be modeled on the city of Nichinan in southern Miyazaki Prefecture. The most symbolic place where Suzume first closes the door is probably the old Bungomori Kikanko in Oita Prefecture, which became a topic of conversation when the door from the movie was actually installed there. Additionally, Suzume travels through Ehime and Hyogo on her way to Tokyo (with the area around Ochanomizu Station being particularly memorable) before reaching her family home in Iwate Prefecture in Tohoku Region.
Anime locations: Aburatsu Port, Bungomori Kikanko, Yawatahama Port, Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Shin-Kobe Station, Ochanomizu Station
Your Name (君の名は), released in 2016, is a fantasy anime film directed by the famous anime director Makoto Shinkai. It is inspired by many real places in Tokyo and Takayama, Gifu. Your Name has stimulated a lot of fans to travel the anime locations in Tokyo and Takayama.
Anime locations: Suga Shrine in Yotsuya, Yotsuya Station, Shinjuku Station, The National Art Center, Tokyo (Tokyo)/Hie Shrine in Takayama, Hidashi Library, Hida-Furukawa Station (Takayama)
-Weathering with You
Weathering with You (天気の子), directed by Makoto Shinkai in 2019, is inspired by the real-life locations in Tokyo, especially Shinjuku.
Anime locations: Yoyogi Kaikan Building (Unfortunately, it was demolished.), Atami Building, Cocoon Tower (Shinjuku)/Tokyo City View Observation Deck, Shiba Park, Tokyo Tower (Roppongi)
For more places, check this list of the Weathering with You locations!
-5 Centimeters per Second
5 Centimeters per Second (秒速5センチメートル), directed by Makoto Shinkai in 2007, consists of three stories Cherry Blossom focusing on Tochigi and Setagaya in Tokyo, Cosmonaut featuring Tanegashima Island in Kagoshima and 5 Centimeters per Second inspired by Tokyo.
Anime locations: Iwafune Station (where Akari meets Takaki) in Tochigi, Gotokuji Station in Setagaya, Tokyo, Tanegashima Island in Kagoshima
-The Garden of Words
The Garden of Words (言の葉の庭), released in 2013, is a popular anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai. It centers on a high schooler Takao and a teacher Yukino at the Shinjuku Gyoen park.
Anime locations: Shinjuku Gyoen
-Whisper of the Heart
Whisper of the Heart (耳をすませば) is a popular Studio Ghibli movie released in 1995. The story of Shizuku and Seiji is unfolded in Hachioji, Tokyo. It takes about half an hour to get from Shinjuku Station to Seiseki-sakuragaoka Station by Keio Line.
Anime locations: Seiseki-sakuragaoka Station, Irohazaka Hill, Konpira Shrine, Atago Apartment (Hachioji)
Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫) is one of the most famous Studio Ghibli movies worldwide, released in 1997. It is said that the forest in the movie is inspired by these two places in Japan.
Anime locations: Shirakami-Sanchi in Aomori (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Yakushima Island in Kagoshima
-From Up on Poppy Hill
From Up on Poppy Hill (コクリコ坂から) is a modern Studio Ghibli movie directed by Goro Miyazaki in 2011, who is a son of Hayao Miyazaki. The whole story of From Up on Poppy Hill is based on Yokohama, Kanagawa.
Anime locations: Sakuragicho Station (the current condition of the station has been changed), NYK Hikawamaru (a ship in Yamashita Park)
Jujutsu Kaisen has been regarded as an anime with strong fantasy elements, but in Season 2’s Shibuya Incident Arc, a major incident in Tokyo’s Shibuya district becomes the focal point of the story. The locations depicted in the anime are faithfully modeled after the recently renovated Shibuya Station. Shibuya is famous as a gathering spot for many people on Halloween night, and fittingly, the Shibuya Incident in the anime is set on Halloween night. Notably, the entire Shibuya subway station serves as a battleground. Of course, landmarks around the station, including the famous Shibuya Crossing, also feature prominently. Just walking around the town and inside the station might remind one of the battle scenes from Jujutsu Kaisen.
Anime locations: Shibuya Station, Shibuya Hikarie, Shibuya Mark City, Dogenzaka Street
Laid-Back Camp (ゆるキャン△) is a popular modern anime series, aired from 2018, with the theme of camping. The characters in the anime enjoy camping in Yamanashi and other areas near Mt.Fuji. A large number of the fans visit the real-life camping sites inspiring Laid-Back Camp, which has made Anime Tourism (a.k.a. the Anime Pilgrimage) much more popular.
Anime locations: Lake Motosu (the westernmost of the Fuji Five Lakes), Lake Shibire, Minobu (Yamanashi)/Shizuoka/Nagano
-Girls und Panzer
Girls und Panzer (ガールズ&パンツァー), a popular action and comedy anime series with the theme of military, is highly related to the real places in Ibaraki Prefecture.
Anime locations: Oarai Isosaki Shrine in Oarai, Ibaraki
-Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン) has been one of the most popular mecha anime series since it was started in 1995. The futuristic city Tokyo-3 is inspired by Hakone by the side of Lake Ashi.
Anime locations: Hakone (Kanagawa), an official EVANGELION store named EVA-YA located in front of Hakone-Yumoto Station
-Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。), a fantasy and drama anime series broadcasted in 2011, has made a less known town more famous: Chichibu, Saitama.
Anime locations: Mt.Buko, Old Chichibu Bridge, Muku Shrine (Chichibu)
-The Anthem of the Heart
The Anthem of the Heart (心が叫びたがってるんだ。) is the other popular anime that is based on Chichibu, Saitama. It was directed by the same anime director as Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day.
Anime locations: Yokoze Station, Daijiji Temple, Hitsujiyama Park
Lucky Star (らき☆すた) is an early anime that has familiarized the way of travel with the theme of anime. A hidden town Kuki, Saitama is now well known to the fans of Lucky Star and other anime lovers.
Anime locations: Washinomiya Shrine, Kasukabe Station
Steins;Gate is a popular sci-fi anime broadcasted in 2011 and 2018. The setting is one of the most popular towns in Tokyo Akihabara. The today’s popularity of Akihabara among both Japanese and foreign tourists has been gained partly by Steins;Gate.
Anime locations: Akihabara Station, Radio Kaikan, Manseibashi Bridge (Akihabara)
Love Live! (ラブライブ!), aired between 2013 and 2014, is one of the popular anime series after the 2010s. The idol group themed anime focuses on the Tokyo’s pop culture town Akihabara. μ’s, the main idol group in Love Live!, is active in Chiyoda Ward that includes Akihabara. Honoka and other μ’s members also visit Okinawa.
Anime locations: Takemura (a Japanese sweet cafe), Kanda Myojin Shrine, Akihabara Gamers, Shoheibashi Bridge, Akihabara UDX Building (Akihabara)/Churaumi Aquarium, Shuri Castle (Okinawa)
-Love Live! Sunshine!!
Love Live! Sunshine!! (ラブライブ! サンシャイン!!) is the second series of the Love Live! project, released in 2016-2017. The story proceeds in Numazu, Shizuoka.
Anime locations: Numazu Station, Awashima Marine Park, Yasudaya Ryokan, Mito Beach (Numazu)
-Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン) is a popular light novel anime franchise, started from 2012. The main character Kirito (Kazuto Kirigaya) lives in Kawagoe, Saitama. Sword Art Online is also inspired by Tokorozawa and some Tokyo’s areas. Especially, you can see many real-life locations in Tokyo in Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale.
Mamoru Hosoda’s 2021 film Belle (竜とそばかすの姫) is set in Kochi Prefecture, featuring both the real world and the online world. The town where the protagonist, Suzu, lives is modeled after Ochi Town, located in the central part of Kochi. It’s a beautiful area characterized by the green mountains surrounding the settlement and the Niyodo River that runs through the town. Among these, Asao Submerged Bridge, spanning approximately 121 meters over the river, is a symbolic real-life location. Additionally, the film briefly features Yasui Valley Suishobuchi, as well as various spots including a station, a bus stop, and a school in towns along the Niyodo River.
Anime locations: Asao Submerged Bridge, Yasui Valley Suishobuchi, Kochi Station, Ino Station, Obiyamachi Shopping Street
-The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (時をかける少女), released 2006, is a masterpiece of the renowned anime director Mamoru Hosoda. The fantasy romance anime movie is mainly inspired by Taito Ward, Tokyo.
Wolf Children (おおかみこどもの雨と雪) is a popular fantasy anime movie directed by Mamoru Hosoda, released in 2012. The first part of Wolf Children is based on Tokyo and the second half is inspired by Toyama Prefecture, which is the hometown of the director.
Anime locations: Hitotsubashi University (where Hana meets the wolfman) (Tokyo)/Kamiichi, Nakaniikawa District, Murodo in Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (Toyama)
-The Boy and the Beast
The Boy and the Beast (バケモノの子) is a modern fantasy anime film directed by Mamoru Hosoda in 2015. It is inspired by the town of Shibuya in Tokyo.
Summer Wars (サマーウォーズ) is the first original anime movie of Mamoru Hosoda, released in 2009. Summer Wars is inspired by a historical town Ueda, Nagano, which is the hometown of his wife.
Anime locations: Higashikoguchi Yagura Gate in Ueda Castle (Nagano)
Hyouka (氷菓) is a slice-of-life, mystery anime series broadcasted in 2012. Hotaro, Eru and other characters go to a high school in Takayama, Gifu, which is inspired by the real-life school named Hida High School.
Anime locations: Hida High School, Hie Shrine, Miyagawa Morning Market, Kajibashi Bridge (Takayama)
-The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱) is one of the most famous light novel and anime series, aired in 2006 and 2009. There are lots of real-life Anime locations of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, where the author was born and raised.
Anime locations: Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi Station, Nishikita Park, Dream (a cafe) (Nishinomiya)
Kantai Collection (艦隊これくしょん), which is abbreviated to KanColle, is a popular action anime centering on the girls who fight for peace of the sea as a role of fleets. The fleet girls are named after the real Japanese fleets in World War II.
Anime locations: Yokosuka (Kanagawa)/Sasebo (Nagasaki)/Maizuru (Kyoto)/Ominato, Mutsu (Aomori)
-High School Fleet
High School Fleet (ハイスクール・フリート) is a modern anime with the theme of Japanese fleets. It is inspired by Yokosuka, the port town in Yokohama.
Anime locations: Yokosuka Station, Mikasa Park, Dobuita Street, Suwa Shrine
-Zombie Land Saga
Zombie Land Saga (ゾンビランドサガ) is a popular idol group anime which is related to the real places in Saga.
Anime locations: Saga Castle History Museum, Karatsu City Museum of History and Folklore, Karatsu City Furusato Hall Arpino, Mt.Kagamiyama Observation Deck (Saga)
Anime locations: A railway crossing near Kamakurakokomae Station of Enoden Line
-Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (青春ブタ野郎はバニーガール先輩の夢を見ない), abbreviated as Aobuta in Japanese, is a fantasy and slice-of-life light novel sand anime series, which was aired in 2018. It is based on the beach city Fujisawa, Kanagawa.
Anime locations: Fujisawa Station, Enoshima Shrine, Enoshima Sea Candle Observation, Shichirigahama Beach, Shichirigahama High School, Enoshimabenten bridge (Fujisawa)
-Place Further than the Universe
Place Further than the Universe (宇宙よりも遠い場所) is a slice-of-life and adventure anime that focuses on the four high school girls who have an aspiration for traveling to Antarctica. The story begins from Tatebayashi in Gunma.
Anime locations: Tatebayashi Station, Tsutsujigaoka Park, Tatebayashi Grand Hotel (Tatebayashi)
-OreGairu: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
OreGairu: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。), which is also known as My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected, is a slice-of-life anime series based on Chiba Prefecture.
Anime locations: Makuhari Messe, Makuhari Seaside Park, Hotel New Otani Makuhari, Marinpia (Chiba)
-Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend (冴えない彼女ヒロインの育てかた), a popular romance and comedy anime series, is inspired by many real-life locations in Tokyo and Saitama.
Anime locations: A hill near Gakushuinshita Station of Toden Arakawa Line, Junkudo Ikebukuro (a large bookstore) (Tokyo)/Gusto in front of Wakoshi Station, Chibikko Park (Wako, Saitama)
-Tsuki ga Kirei
Anime locations: Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, Kawagoe Kumano Shrine, Koedo (Kawagoe, Saitama)
Erased (僕だけがいない街) is a mystery manga and anime series, which is mainly inspired by Tomakomai, Hokkaido.
Anime locations: Tomakomai Midorigaoka Park, Tomakomai Municipal Misono Elementary School (Tomakomai)/New Chitose Airport (Sapporo)
Durarara!! (デュラララ!!) is a suspense light novel and anime series, which is set in Ikebukuro and a fictional high school in the town in Tokyo.
Anime locations: Ikebukuro Station, Sunshine 60 Street, Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park (Ikebukuro)
-A Certain Magical Index
A Certain Magical Index (とある魔術の禁書目録) is one of the most famous light novel anime series with its spin-off A Certain Scientific Railgun (とある科学の超電磁砲). Lots of real-life locations in Tachikawa in Tokyo appear in the anime.
Anime locations: There are a large number of spots around Tachikawa Station and Tama Center Station
If you have some favorite anime, you should check whether they are inspired by real-life places in Japan and take a trip to the anime destinations. For more travel information near the anime places, you might also like these articles below, too!