Anime allows us to visit foreign, exotic worlds but believe it or not, sometimes animators take inspiration from places much closer to home. Below, we’ve listed three anime locations you can visit for yourself, assuming you have the time and means to travel. Note: all of the real world images are sourced from Google Maps, so why not explore for yourself?

1. Steins Gate

This is a little obvious, but it’s particularly close to our hearts! Steins Gate takes place in Akihabara (sometimes shortened to Akiba), Tokyo. Akihabara is essentially the otaku capital of Japan, and you can find everything from anime merchandise to obscure, retro electronics here.

Steins Gate shows several notable locations in this area. First and foremost, there’s the Radio Kaikan building where the time machine crashes…

steins gate radio building
White Fox

radio kaikan building 2

Faris’ maid café (called Café Mailish in real life)…

steins gate maid cafe

cafe mailish steins gate

And even the coin lockers were the IBN 5100 was stored!

steins gate coin locker anime

steins gate coin locker

These are actually just a handful of the locations in Steins Gate that you can find. Why not spend half an hour on Google Maps and track down Ruka’s shrine, the Future Gadget Lab, or really, just about any given street in the show?

2. K-On!

K-On! Is a moe show about a group of high-school girls who start a band. It sounds sickly sweet, and it is, but it’s also among the best, most addictive slice-of-life shows around. What’s more, both the school and surrounding areas are faithful to their real-world equivalents. We’re moving outside of Tokyo for these shots, to the town of Toyosato in the Shiba prefecture.

Let’s take a look at the school in the anime…

k on school anime
Kyoto Animation

And in the real world…

k on school real

But the details actually go even further! For instance, the animators even replicated the smaller touches, like the animals lining the bannisters…

k on stairs anime

k on school stairs

Don’t think this is just limited to a few Japanese settings, either; eagle-eyed British viewers may have spotted a few familiar places when the band went to London. Here’s the view from Westminister Bridge:

k on westminster bridge

k on westminster bridge real life

And Camden Town Station…

k on camden town

camden town station

3. Your Name

Your Name is now the highest-grossing anime movie of all time, and if you haven’t seen it, you really should! Better still, if you’re in Tokyo, you can actually visit many of the places seen in the movie. Take the National Art Center, for instance:

your name national art center
Toho

national art center

or the famous Yunika Vision screens…

Your-Name-Yunika-Vision

yunika vision But of course, not all of Your Name takes place in the city. To get the full picture, we have to travel all the way out to Lake Suwa in Nagano, about three hours away by car. See anything similar in the next two pictures? No? Okay, imagine the city hadn’t been built up so much.

your name lake nagano

tateishi park

We’re barely scratching the surface here; there are so many more examples of this, where art imitates life. If you’d like to see the real-life locations behind your favourite anime shows or movies, feel free to let us know in the comments.

Ian Garland

Just an ordinary guy who woke up one day in the magical world of anime reviews. Check them out... or don't, i-it's not like he likes you or anything...

View all posts