Japan Puts Anime on the Map

Whether its time traveling with Haruhi on adventures within the classroom, battling around Tokyo with Digimon virtual pets or even just lazing around and playing games all day with Lucky Star‘s Konata in Saitama prefecture, Anime characters seem to have it all, and it all seems to happen in Japan.  Except that those places couldn’t possibly be real, could they? Welcome to the world of real place tourism, now complete with map and tour guide courtesy of JNTO, the Japan National Tourism Organisation.

anime map

Real place tourism is a thriving business for domestic tourism in Japan and with the newly published English guide available at the JNTO website, the government is clearly keen on taking advantage of the huge interest in Anime culture and the inbound tourism they expect will come with it.  With attendance at events such as the Japan Expo in Paris (170,000 attendees), Anime Expo in Los Angeles (40,000 attendees) and London’s own MCM Expo (60,000 attendees), tourists looking to the East will find the map a welcome guide.

For a society which holds Otaku in fairly low regard, they certainly know how to capitalize on them and their western brethren.  The flip side of the map comes with a primer on all things Anime related including where to find a maid café, gift ideas such as dakimakura (hugging pillows), where to see the latest anime babes on cars known as ‘Itasha‘ (quite literally the word for ‘pain’ and ‘car’) and even suggestions of ‘moe’ foods such as Anime franchised curry!

Cosplay fan can rejoice too as there’s information on where to find ‘Purikura‘ photo machines where you can dress up as your favourite characters, take a picture and then touch screen edit your face into a lovely Anime grin complete with sweat drop.  That’s if you’re not too busy racing around in a life size GhibliCat Bus‘ or running away from a full scale model of EVA-01 from Evangelion.

Surprisingly absent from the map is the location of Sakuragaoka school from the immensely success K-ON series or any of the many locations from Clannad, but fans of Summer Wars can visit the Higashi-Koguchi Yagura gate used to model the entrance to the Jinnouchi family’s residence and a walk around Nishinomiya City in Hyogo Prefecture will take you back to many frantic memories of Haruhi Suzumiya.

If you’ve always wanted to make a pilgrimage to one of these ‘sacred sites’ then check out this map before you fly and consider investing in a JR Rail Pass which offers inbound tourists special discounts on cross country travel that is unavailable upon arrival in Japan.  And if the augmented reality capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS or the Playstation Vita are implemented soon then who knows, you may find yourself face to No-face at a magical bathhouse, or hitching a ride with a headless rider in Ikebukuro.

The map is available here at http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/animemap/index.html

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