With anime like AnoHana, Girls und Panzer, and Lucky Star giving the towns and cities they are based on some much needed love from local Japanese anime tourists, it would only be a matter of time when the foreign anime fans would make their presence felt, and now it seems, they have.
Anime Tourism is a fast growing industry in Japan, and most of these anime tourists are from japan themselves, visiting sites which were featured in their favorite anime, and with the influx of many foreigners visiting these sites as well, expect cities or towns such as Chichibu (AnoHana), Oarai (Girls und Panzer), Washinomiya (Lucky Star), and Kanazawa, Ishikawa (Hana-Saku Iroha) to be more foreign-friendly.
Some of these locations are being found with the help of Google Map Street View, which has been quite useful for many foreign tourists who have gotten lost trying to find their way through many of Japan’s iconic sites like AnoHana’s famous bridge (pictured above).
The small coastal town of Oarai ,which has become one of the hottest anime tourism destinations because of the popular tank series Girls und Panzer, as well as the Washinomiya Shrine in Saitama which experienced an increase in pilgrims because of the anime Lucky Star, are both experiencing a huge influx of anime tourists. Both Oarai and the Washinomiya Shrine have experienced a huge increase in visitors since the respective anime series first aired.
Another city in Saitama, Chichibu is also having a lot of anime fans come over. It is known for being the setting for the hit anime series AnoHana, and like Washinomiya shrine and Oarai town, has been visited by anime pilgrims ever since AnoHana first aired.
Mostly, places like Akihabara, would be enough for foreigners, but it seems that these days, fans want more. The influx of these foreign anime pilgrims has even gotten the attention of the Japanese government, with agencies like Visit Japan and Cool Japan promoting some of these sites, and not just the ones found in Tokyo like Akihabara or even Kyoto. Heck, even a website is even listing some of them, even ones you probably did not even know of. There’s an anime pilgrimage guidebook as well.
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