FEATURE: Anime vs. Real Life: The Spirit of Anohana Still Lives on in the Town of Chichibu


As I’m nonetheless ready for among the nice summer time anime titles like The God of Excessive College and Lease-a-Girlfriend to place out a number of extra real-life areas for me to actually dive into, I believed it could be a good suggestion once more to have a look again at one in every of my older informal pilgrimages, which I by no means obtained round to posting. To this present day, Anohana: The Flower We Noticed That Day nonetheless counts as one of many greats of its style, having left a considerable emotional influence on many followers, myself included. However that’s not all, the nine-year-old anime additionally left an enormous mark on its real-life setting by placing the quiet rural city of Chichibu in Saitama on the map for vacationers, and even for an unprecedented quantity of non-Japanese anime followers. So on this installment of Anime vs. Actual Life, take a digital stroll by means of the quiet city of Chichibu with me, as we run down a few of Anohana: The Flower We Noticed That Day's most notable real-world areas!

 

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

 

One of the best ways to get to Chichibu from Tokyo is through the Seibu Chichibu Line, which connects Tokyo’s Ikebukuro Station on to the Seibu Chichibu Station, which is pictured above right here (despite the fact that it obtained a little bit of face-lift since). The Chichibu Restricted Specific will get you from Ikebukuro to Chichibu inside a swift hour and a half, making this such a horny day journey for anime followers who’ve a day to spare in Tokyo. And as quickly as you come by means of the ticket gate, you’ll know for certain that your in Menma’s city, as you’ll quickly discover her smiling face on lots of the merchandise offered within the station’s present store, or the Tremendous Peace Busters’ themed drinks on the café within the massive meals court docket. 

 

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

 

Utilizing the station as a place to begin, I made a brief 15-minute stroll as much as Hitsujiyama Park, the place I had an awesome view of the town. The park is especially well-known for its colourful subject of Shibazakura flowers, which additionally obtained a short nod within the present. Nevertheless, for followers of the anime, the fence on which Poppo sits in the course of the catchy opening needs to be one of the vital iconic spots of the present, so recreating the shot was clearly a should! 

 

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

 

From there it’s a little bit of a stroll again to the town’s business district alongside Bamba Road, however in the long run, it didn’t take me greater than 20 minutes. In the event you’re searching for a quicker strategy to get across the metropolis, I additionally noticed rental bikes at Seibu Chichibu Station. 

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

Strolling by means of the town, it’s obvious how enormous of an affect the present had and nonetheless has in town, as you continue to discover Anohana-branded stuff actually in every single place, starting from water bottles to banners. The vast majority of the themed collaborations are from Anohana, but additionally the 2 anime movies The Anthem of the Coronary heart and Her Blue Sky, are each set within the city of Chichibu, all of which had been written by the prolific screenwriter and director Mari Okada, who was born right here.

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

On the finish of Bamba Road lies the serene Chichibu Shrine. However whereas the time-honored shrine with its elaborate picket carvings is actually price a go to all by itself, it’s probably not an necessary location for the anime, as all that occurs right here was Yukiatsu merely operating previous Jintan. The far more related temple is simply one other brief stroll away, however first issues first. 

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

As a result of in the event you head one road East of the shrine, you’ll find yourself on the prepare tracks once more, which the characters of the present stroll previous fairly ceaselessly. Nevertheless, it was primarily relatively painful scenes that passed off right here, one in every of which was after we because the viewers first obtained affirmation as to what was actually occurring with Menma. The view of Mount Buko within the again is just not unhealthy, although. 

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

That commercial within the again will need to have certainly paid off in spite of everything these years of anime followers passing by. 

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

From the spot alongside the tracks, which is near Chichibu Station — to not be confused with Seibu Chichibu Station — it’s one other 15-minute stroll to the quaint, however iconic Jorin Temple. The temple is so pivotal for the present, because it’s not solely the place the gang used to hang around throughout their youthful days, but additionally the place they’re slowly reconnecting once more in spite of everything these years aside. 

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

The little temple is situated a bit off the overwhelmed path and was naturally coping with declining customer numbers, however the frequent anime guests have actually breathed new life into the place. And you’ll see that primarily based on the various current Anohana-themed ema (picket wishing plaques) hung there.

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

And I’m comfortable to report, that the cutout of the boy holding the temple title remains to be alive and effectively. 

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

I’ll hold my want for myself for now. 

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

Proper behind the temple is Keyaki Park, the place you’ll discover the very same bench on which Jintan was sitting in the course of the third episode.

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

And final however not least, actually essentially the most memorable and iconic real-life areas of the present are the 2 Chichibu bridges proper subsequent to one another, which cross the Arakawa River. The bridge is the jumping-off level for lots of the present's occasions, and likewise prominently featured within the present’s opening. Menma is strolling throughout the solely pedestrian Kyuchichibu Bridge right here. 

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

Proper subsequent to it’s the very recognizable cable-stayed Chichibu Bridge, which was constructed 35 years in the past in 1985. 

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

And in between these two bridges, you’ll even spot the pillars of one other bridge that when stood right here.

 

anohana, anime, real life, chichibu

 

From Chichibu Bridge it’s a fairly hefty 50-minute stroll again to Seibu Chichibu Station, however fortunately for me, I used to be staying close by anyway, and solely needed to observe ten minutes to the close by Onohara Station. Conversely, you possibly can additionally use that station to take you again to the town heart. The one main location I missed was the Ryusei Rocket scaffold, which you’ll certainly keep in mind from the finale of the present, however is sadly fairly far out of city. Nevertheless, most of Anohana’s areas are simply doable inside a day journey, and despite the fact that the anime was an actual tear-jerker, it was actually heartwarming to see the love and keenness that Chichibu nonetheless has for this masterpiece. 

You may watch Anohana: The Flower We Noticed That Day each subbed and dubbed proper right here on Crunchyroll!

 

 

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Wilhelm is an anime vacationer, who likes to seek for and uncover the real-world spots he sees in anime. You may speak with him on Twitter @Surwill or on Instagram wilhelm_donko.

 

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