One of the first things I did after arriving in Japan in 1991 was head down to Shinjuku, Tokyo, the setting for so many awesome 80s anime series, where I basked in the glory of the giant Studio Alta TV from Megazone 23 then roamed Shunjuku station looking for the “XYZ” chalkboard from City Hunter. (I’m old school, I know.) This tendency for animators to increase realism by setting their stories in real places continues to this day, and if you’re so inclined you can drive the mountain roads in Initial D (happily located in J-List’s home prefecture of Gunma) or visit the beautiful Edo Period castle where the new film Summer Wars was based — heck, you can even eat taiyaki while walking around the town in Osaka where the Kanon anime was “filmed.” When anime fans found out that the school seen in K-On! was based on a real place — the decommissioned Toyosato Elementary in Shiga Prefecture — the school instantly became hallowed ground, and if you go there on a Sunday you can see dozens of other otaku on pilgrimages to show off their cool itasha anime cars. Allowing your location to be featured in a popular anime seems to be lucrative, as the Washinomiya Shrine from Lucky Star has discovered — the limited goods the shrine sells have brought in millions of yen.
This leads to the question: where the hell is the Eve no Jikan cafe and how do I get there??
The places in your favorite anime series probably exist in real life.