What inspires your wanderlust? Is it a hunger for the authentic flavours of a particular cuisine? The desire to explore beautiful natural landscapes? Or perhaps an unwavering love of anime? Due to the overwhelming influx of travellers who come to Japan on a pilgrimage to visit the places featured in their favourite animes, tour company Otomo have collaborated with the Anime Tourism Association to create a new set of tours catering to fans of anime.
Three separate tours in three different cities around Japan have been announced for the launch of the new Anime Tourism service, which will begin accepting reservations sometime in October. More anime-themed tours will be added in the near future.
The first tour revolves around the anime ‘Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai’, which is set in the seaside town of Fujisawa, Kanagawa. This is the longest tour with a duration of five and a half hours, and also the one most accessible from Tokyo. You can reach Fujisawa within an hour by taking the Tokaido Line from Tokyo Station.
The second tour is based on the anime ‘Hyouka’, which is set in a fictional town in Gifu, a mountainous prefecture in central Japan. While the city of Kamiyama may not be a real place, it was modeled after Takayama, the hometown of Honobu Yonezawa, who wrote the mystery novel the anime was adapted from. You will still be able to see the same neighbourhoods from the anime on a five-hour tour of Takayama’s charming shrines, schools and shopping streets.
The third tour, ‘The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’, promises a look at the local life of Nishinomiya in Hyogo, a city midway between Kobe and Osaka. On this four-and-a-half-hour excursion, you’ll be able to walk the same school roads that the characters from the anime take to class every day.
It will be another few weeks before these three tours are available, but local tour guides have registered their own anime-themed tours on the Otomo website, which are available for immediate booking.
For similar excursions in Tokyo, check out our guide to anime and manga culture in Tokyo.