On the weekend of August 5-6, 2006, I traveled from Kanagawa prefecture, my summer residence, to Hiroshima prefecture, partly to visit Miyajima, one of the three most beautiful views in Japan, and the acclaimed A-bomb domb. (My timing could not have been better since August 6th was the day the A-bomb was dropped in Hiroshima.) However, my real purpose was to conduct a 聖地巡礼 to the town of Onomichi, the location of various Japanese movies, and, more importantly, the 2005 summer anime Kamichu! If you haven’t watched it, shame on you. One cannot find any single anime character in existence more moe than Yurie-sama. (I wish her good luck in the current Saimoe tournament, until she faces O-haruhi-sama, that is.) Anyways, Geneon has licensed the anime and has published some DVDs. So, go support the sweetest goddess in the anime world if you’re so inclined.
Onomichi is beautifully and faithfully depicted in the anime. Its business district is concentrated on the meager piece of land between a sea strait in the south, and a relatively steep hill in the north, forcing people to build their houses on the hillside. Schools, temples, and shrines are located on the hillside as well. Since I’ve always lived either in a valley or on a plain, the town is very interesting for me as it is full of slopes, staircases, and weird arrangements of buildings. The view from Zenko-ji Park, located on top of the hill is just spectacular.
Looking down from Zenko-ji Park.
The trip was enjoyable, but the only complaint I had was that the day was too hot to bear. Because the town is full slopes and staircases, navigating it was even more taxing. (Yes, I’m a fat otaku lacking physical exercises.) I remember interleaving a 30-minute rest between every 15 minutes of walking. Had I had more stamina, I could have covered more locations in the anime. But since I got photos of most places, I wasn’t quite disappointed about that.
So, here I present some Lame Photoz(TM) of locations in Kamichu! along with maps indicating the general where-they-are, hoping that they might become useful to some of you fellow fanboys, who might want to fly to Japan and give this seichi-junrei a try. It’s totally worth it, I assure you.
My advise is that, before you explore the town, go to the tourist information center near the station and pick up a tourist map. The map should contain locations of all religious buildings in town, including the two shrines featured in Kamichu! It should also contain information about “Old Temple Walk,” a guided walking route that takes you through numerous old temples on the hillside.
This trip would not have been possible without the efforts of people went to the trip before I did and were kind enough to write reports and published their photos on the internet. Looking at their websites, I learned which scenes from the anime were available, knew what the actual places are called, and, most importantly, got the maps linked to from this page.
Here are some links I used to do research on the trip:
- http://www12.plala.or.jp/sikoukairo/masunari_kamilonolink.html contains links to many Kamichu! trip reports.
- www.makocchan.net/cgi/archives/2005/09/post_226.html has Google Maps of important locations.
- The maps in this entry are from Mapion. I got the Mapion links somewhere. Right now, I’m trying to find the link to that website to give its author his/her due credit.
Now, the locations and the photos.
Many cuts in a number of episodes of Kamichu! portrays the railway and Onomichi station from a crossing bridge called Uzushio-bashi, just a little east of the station towards the direction of the shopping district. (MAP)
尾道市立土堂小学校 (Todou Shougakkou)
Todou Shougakkou is the school Yurie-sama and the gang attend. While being a middle school in the anime, it is actually a primary school. The school is not very far from Onomichi station: cross Uzushio-bashi, and go up a slope, and you are there. (MAP)
Ushitora-jinja is near the cable car station that goes up the hill to Zenkou-ji Park. It serves as the front building of Raifuku-jinja, the home of the Matsuri and Miko Saegusa. (MAP)
Beside the shrine, there’s a small alley leading to the top of the hill. There, you’ll find rocks painted as cats that appear in the DVD version of episode 2.
I’m not sure where the exact location of the above scene is though, but Ushitora-jinja is one of the many places in Onomichi you can find the cat-rocks.
Misode-tenmanguu is the model for the environ of Raifuku-jinja. It’s not very far from Ushitora-jinja: just follow the Old Temple Walk as if you’re going to Daisanji (大山寺), and ask people there where the shrine is. (MAP)
Perhaps the most difficult location to find. Since I’m quite bad at giving directions, please consult the MAP. Interestingly, in the anime, the house is on the other side of the strait.
On the side of the main land, the ferry wharf is pretty close to the train station. (MAP) Seventy yen is the fee for a one-way ride, but you must pay for it only on the island side of the strait. Most ferry-related scenes in the anime are shot from the island side. Thus, by riding the ferry, you are able to not only see the locations in the anime for yourself, but claim that you have used the “transportation of the God.”
(I might add more content to this page later.)