Enter The World Of “Your Name”
Ask any Japanese and they would tell you that the movie, 君の名は。(Your name) was the biggest hit in the theatres all summer. Contrary to what most would expect, there is actually a rather limited audience who would watch an anime film in Japan. Most people who would watch an anime film are long-time fans of anime. The producers of 君の名は。accomplished the feat of convincing people of all ages and backgrounds to check out the film, regardless of whether or not they liked anime. If you have yet to check out the film, Golden Village cinema in Singapore is still screening the film so you could head down to watch it!
君の名は。is known for its realistic animation and portrayal of real-life spots in Tokyo and other various parts in Japan. There has actually been a phenomenon where there has been a rise in tourism to parts of rural Japan that were featured in the movie, such as the mountains in the Gifu prefecture. Spots that can be easily accessed in Tokyo have also been swarming with fans of the movie!
Thus, as I had several days to explore the central parts of Tokyo, I decided to take a look at the spots that were relatively convenient and accessible. Amongst all of them, two spots were relatively close to each other.They were located at Shinanomachi Station and I decided to head there.
1. Shinanomachi Bridge
In one of the scenes where Taki (the male lead) was calling Mitsuha (the female lead), he was leaning against a bridge. Fans discovered that this bridge bore a heavy resemblance to the bridge located near Shinanomachi Station. Once you’re at Shinanomachi Station, turn left and you should see the bridge within several steps.
Of course, the real thing would have several differences from that which appeared in the movie scene. However, it was definitely intriguing to check out the bridge and take several photos.
2. Staircase along Suga Shrine
A staircase was featured in one of the key images used to promote the movie. It was also featured in the very last scene where Taki and Mitsuha passed by each other. This staircase can actually be found next to Suga Shrine, located in between Yotsuya and Shinanomachi Stations. You can take a slow walk from Shinanomachi Station (it’s about 10-20 minutes, depending on your walking speed) while relishing in the more relaxed vibe that the district holds, in comparison to the busy streets of Shinjuku and Shibuya.
When I was there, there was a group of Chinese cameramen and a reporter who was interviewing fans of 君の名は。It truly was a testament to the popularity of 君の名は。which had managed to make its mark even in China, where there would be media outlets which want to report about the spot.
Also, while you’re there, why not have a sip of the mineral water that was being promoted concurrently with the movie? (Watch the commercial here!) The mineral water advertised actually is yogurt-flavoured and you will be surprised by the taste of it! It’s mineral water, but it really does have a yoghurt drink taste to it!
For many, their impression of Tokyo is that it’s a city that is mainly about shopping, eating, visiting tourist sites (and spending money on souvenirs and entrance fees) but there are also things that can be done in Tokyo for free. Perhaps it’s the cool weather in winter, but you can definitely find things that can be interesting and uncommon to be done, at no additional cost!
If it weren’t for the movie, I’m sure that Shinanomachi Station is a station that no tourist would consider visiting. However, with 君の名は。, it has encouraged people to visit the station. Now, tourists don’t just spend their time at Asakusa, Tokyo Skytree, Shinjuku and Shibuya. Instead, they find themselves taking a slow walk around quaint and quiet places. The streets are quiet but peaceful and relaxing. Despite the silence, you feel comforted due to an atmosphere of safety. Taking slow walks around such quaint places can be fun and you will find places that are not commonly found in a typical itinerary that you plan for a trip to Tokyo.