Popular comedy anime Lucky Star has helped increase the popularity of the Washinomiya Shinto shrine in Saitama prefecture ever since 2007. This year, approximately 470,000 people once again visited the shrine for New Year’s visit (a custom in Japan known as Hatsumoude) and this is all thanks to the anime.
The shrine is considered one of the oldest Shinto shrines in the Kanto region and has gained notoriety among anime fans because two of Lucky Star’s main characters, Tsukasa and Kagami work as shrine maidens (Miko) in Washinomiya.
Before the anime aired in 2007, an average of 90,000 visitors visited the shrine as part of the Japanese New Year traditions. That number was doubled in 2008 after the anime was aired and then steadily increased to 420,000 visitors in 2009.
The number of visitors increased once again in 2010 to 450,000 and then to 470,000 in 2011. The number of visitors then stayed at 470,000 for four straight years (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014) and this has all been attributed to Lucky Star’s popularity.
This year, 220,000 people visited the shrine on January 1, 150,000 on January 2 and 100,000 on January 3. The shrine has been a popular destination for anime pilgrims ever since Lucky Star first aired back in 2007.
The anime is so celebrated in Saitama that a special Lucky Star portable shrine has been made for the Haji Festival in honor of the series which has given so much for the area.
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