[Hida / Itomori Edition] The Real Life Locations of the Hit Anime Film “Your Name”
The anime film "Your Name" was not just a hit in Japan, but was also a record breaking smash across Asia and beyond. Shown in theaters around the world, it has garnered attention for its stunning visuals. In Japan, it's currently very popular to take a pilgrimage to real life sites that inspired the beautiful scenes in the movie. Here are some of these pilgrimage sites that inspired the town of Itomori in the movie, with a particular focus on its real life location of Hida in Gifu Prefecture!
Itomori, a Town Modeled After Hida City in Gifu Prefecture
Mitsuha, one of the protagonists of "Your Name", lives in the rural town of Itomori, a place teeming with nature that is far removed from any large city or metropolis. Itomori is actually a fictitious town created for the film. While it doesn't actually exist in Japan, it's based on the city of Hida in Gifu Prefecture. The pilgrimage sites introduced in this article are centered around this same city. Another fun fact: the atmosphere of Itomori is inspired by the director's hometown of Koumi in Nagano Prefecture.
What Kind of Place is Hida City?
Hida City is the northernmost city in Gifu Prefecture. It was established on the first of February 2004 from the merger of the towns of Furukawa and Kamioka, and the villages of Kawai and Miyagawa. The unique feature of Hida lies in its geographical location, surrounded by mountains and harnessing the climates of both the Japan Sea coast and the inland areas. In winter, it is covered entirely in large blankets of snow.
Getting to Hida City
If coming from Chubu Centrair International Airport to Hida City (alighting at Hida Furukawa station), it is recommended that you purchase the affordable "Centrair Ticket". You can purchase this ticket at the airport.
1. From Chubu Centrair International Airport, board the Meitetsu Line Train and disembark at Meitetsu Gifu Station.
2. Walk to the Gifu Bus Terminal (approximately 2 minutes)
3. Board the highway bus at Gifu Bus Terminal towards the Takayama Nohi Bus Center
4. Disembark at the Takayama Nohi Bus Center
5. Board a bus towards Furukawa Station at the Takayama Nohi Bus Center and disembark at Furukawa Station (Furukawa Station is in Hida City)
Refer to the official homepage for more information.
Hida Furukawa Station
So let's embark on a journey through Hida City, a pilgrimage spot for "Your Name". First up is Hida Furukawa Station. The protagonist Taki embarks from his hometown of Tokyo in search of Itomori and reaches this station after passing through Nagoya Station. Do you remember the scene where a train arrives into the station, with a picture of a bridge stretching over the platforms in the distance? The scene in which Taki is seen asking around for information in front of the station is also striking. It is exactly as you remember it from the movie, and it continues to see a marked increase in visitors because of its appearance in the film.
Hida City Library
This is the library where Taki researched about Itomori. They even have the seat that he sat on in the film. You can take pictures within the library as long as you ask for permission. It might be fun to sit in this chair yourself and pretend to be Taki! Just remember that this is a library, so make sure that you keep noise to a minimum while visiting.
Ajidokoro Furukawa (Gohei Mochi)
While taking a break in his search for Itomori, Taki and his friends decide to eat what is known as "gohei mochi". This is a type of snack in which rice is flattened into an elongated oval shape and lightly cooked over a flame before adding a sweet miso sauce and cooking it further. The shop where they ate this is modeled after Ajidokoro. On the second floor, you can sample some of the local delicacies of Hida, while on the first floor you can purchase a wide variety of souvenirs. Make sure to try the gohei mochi while you're here.
*This picture is a representation of gohei mochi.
Miyagawa Ochiai Bus Stop
Miyagawa Ochiai Bus Stop is located a 5-minute walk from Tsunogawa Station, which can be reached in 13 minutes by train from Hida Furukawa Station. In the film, Taki can be seen waiting at this bus stop.
※This bus stop is currently not in use.
Hida Furukawa Sakura Gift Shop
This souvenir shop in Furukawa, Hida, lies roughly 8 minutes on foot from Hida Furukawa Station. Not only will you find locally handcrafted goods, sweets, and other famous local products, you can purchase items that appear in the movie here, too. They also have a gallery displaying pictures of the local area, sell heishi (a type of tall sake jug with a small bottleneck), and offer visitors the chance to make their own braided trinkets as seen in the film. Be sure to pop in while taking a stroll in Hida Furukawa.
※These pictures are only used for illustrative purposes.
Mitsuha's Family Home, the Hallowed Ground of the "Miyamizu Shrine"
There is a theory that Mitsuha's family home, where she lived with her younger sister as a miko (shrine maiden), is actually modeled after two shrines: the Keta Wakamiya Shrine and the Hida Sannogu Hie Shrine. Both of these shrines are extremely beautiful and are sure to take you back to the scenes from the movie.
Keta Wakamiya Shrine (Hida Furukawa)
A shrine located in Hida, Gifu. It is said to date back to the Heian Period (794-1185) and is famous as the site of one of Japan's three great naked festivals.
The Stairs at Keta Wakamiya Shrine
The stairs at Keta Wakamiya Shrine appeared in a scene during which Taki is appealing for information from the locals. The long stairs are painstakingly recreated in the movie. The shrine is located a short 15-minute walk from Hida Furukawa Station, so be sure to stop by on your trip.
Hida Sannogu Hie Shrine (Hida-Takayama City)
This shrine was built in 1141 and is located in Takayama, Gifu. It is the setting for one of Japan's three most beautiful festivals, the splendid and magnificent Takayama Festival.
The Giant Cedar Tree Within Hida Sannogu Hie Shrine
The magnificent giant cedar tree inside the Hida Sannogu Hie Shrine is 1000 years old, with a height of 40m and a trunk width of 7m. It has been designated as a natural monument by Gifu Prefecture, so be sure to give it a look while you're in town!
Which Lake Inspired the Lake in Itomori: Lake Suwa, Lake Matsubara, or Lake Otsuki?
What inspired Lake Itomori, the lake that was formed in the center of Itomori by a fallen meteor? There's a strong belief that it's Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture, however, according to the director himself, it was based on Nagano's Lake Matsubara and Lake Otsuki. Whichever lake it was based on, they each have their own unique atmosphere!
Lake Suwa stretches across the areas of Okutani, Suwa, and Shimosuwa in Nagano. It's a popular sightseeing spot with numerous well-known sites dotted around its precincts. It's known as the largest lake in the Shinshu region. Bordered on all sides by mountains, it bares a striking resemblance to the lake that appears in the film.
This lake is located in the town of Koumi in the Minamisaku District of Nagano Prefecture, and was formed after a collapse of the Yatsugatake mountains. Matsubara is the collective name given to the lakes of Ina, Cho and Otsuki, but it may also be used to refer to Lake Ina specifically. Director Makoto Shinkai stated in an interview that Lake Matsubara was his first thought when he considered the idea of a town with a lake in it.
This is one of the Matsubara lakes. Similarly to Lake Ina (or Matsubara), Lake Otsuki is also said to have inspired Lake Itomori, according to the director. It appears that a number of lakes existing in the real world were used as a basis to design the lake in the film.
Make sure to refer to this article on your pilgrimage and enjoy comparing the real world sites with their film counterparts!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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