Japanese animation can be a vehicle to take you all around Japan, from legendary temples and nature spots, to small-town streets and convenience stores. Very often the locations are drawn in so much detail, that they seem like copies of real-life places. Here’s a list of all 47 prefectures in Japan and anime that take place in each prefecture.
This is the most representative story from Hokkaido, with both the anime and manga showcasing various locations across the island. The story takes place after the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and gives a spotlight to Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu people, even featuring the Ainu language.
Aomori is the scene for an anime featuring a young witch and her black cat. It’s not Kiki, but Makoto Kowata and she makes the opposite move — from the big city to the countryside, more specifically from Yokohama to rural Aomori. Flying Witch is a 2017 anime, showing the budding trend of escaping to nature.
Fans of the Akita breed of dog and the famous Hachiko should watch Silverfang: The Shooting Star Gin. The main character is an Akita puppy who leaves his master to join a pack of wild dogs and takes us across the Akita wilderness.
Musashi no Ken (Musashi’s Sword) is both a way to see Iwate Prefecture in anime and to look into the world of the martial art, kendo. It shows the peaceful environments of small towns in Iwate and the characters often speak in the local dialect. The anime even manages to weave in the poetry of literary great Kenji Miyazawa, an Iwate native.
The widely popular volleyball anime Haikyu!! takes place in Miyagi Prefecture, mostly in its capital Sendai. Since it’s a sports-themed anime, you can see depictions of real-life gymnasiums and sports centers in the prefecture, as well as in Tokyo.
Excluding theories that the bathhouse in Spirited Away is based on Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata, this prefecture is best viewed through the lens of another, albeit less known, Ghibli film. The main character in Only Yesterday travels from Tokyo to Yamagata where she falls in love with the place and with a Yamagata local.
Masamune Datenicle (a play on “Date” and “chronicle”) is a 2016 anime produced by a studio in Fukushima and aims to promote the prefecture’s history and culture. Date Masamune was a famous Tohoku samurai who still has a lot of fans to this day.
Laid Back Camp takes you to several nature spots in Japan, but many are in Yamanashi Prefecture. Mount Fuji and its volcanic lakes feature prominently.
This prefecture also pops up in Laid Back Camp, but Grand Blue showcases the marine beauty of the Izu Peninsula. The story follows a character living above his uncle’s diving shop. He eventually enjoys the laid-back lifestyle there, despite initial reluctance.
The anime Magical Girl Raising Project, based on the light novels by Asari Endo, takes place in the cryptic N-city. However, with exact depictions of Takada Station, Takada Castle and Takada Park’s Gokurakubashi Bridge (to name a few), we can see it’s based on Joetsu city, the author’s hometown.
Mamoru Hosoda’s film Summer Wars takes us to Ueda, a small town in Nagano, where we see Ueda Castle and the lush Nagano countryside.
Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki follows a Tokyo high schooler moving to Nagoya. He learns about the new place after meeting the quirky Monaka Yatogame, a fellow student who speaks in the Nagoya dialect.
Half of Your Name, Makoto Shinkai’s hit anime film, takes place in Tokyo, while the other half happens in the small town of Itomori. Itomori is based on a real-life location in Gifu Prefecture.
Set in a traditional onsen (based on the historic Yuwaku Spa), Hanasaku Iroha follows a Tokyo teenager sent to live and work in rural Ishikawa Prefecture.
Mamoru Hosoda’s film Wolf Children takes place in the Toyama countryside. The house where the characters live is a real place dating back 130 years.
The main characters of Meganebu! are glass-wearing nerds on a quest to make the best glasses. The anime takes place in Fukui, a prefecture known for eyewear production.
Tokyo is the setting of so many anime, that it’s impossible to choose one. Check out our article about 10 anime locations in Tokyo, as well as our Nana anime article and Bocchi the Rock locations in Shimokitazawa.
The prefecture’s Chichibu area is the location for the iconic anime Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, with Chichibu Bridge featuring in promotional imagery.
Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU) takes place in a high school in Chiba, with outings showing us parks and beaches in Chiba as well as the Chiba Monorail.
The iconic basketball anime Slam Dunk takes place in Tokyo-adjacent Kanagawa. The featured locations, including the Enoden (Enoshima Electric Railway), are some of the most visited real-life anime locations in Japan.
The seaside town of Oarai is the locale for the Girls & Panzer anime. Oarai has embraced this connection with many posters and character cutouts around the town, as well as holding the fictional tank parades from the anime in real life.
One part of the film 5 Centimeters Per Second takes place at Iwafune Station in Tochigi Prefecture. It also shows landscapes of the prefecture, such as Mount Iwafune.
You Don’t Know Gunma Yet‘s whole plot is to shatter negative stereotypes about Gunma as we follow a protagonist from Chiba who moves to the prefecture.
Just like Tokyo, there are many anime set in Kyoto or visiting Kyoto in some episodes. To pick one example, watch The Night is Short, Walk On Girl, an anime film that depicts Kyoto by night.
A mundane part of Nara (not the touristy temples and deer) is the setting for Beyond the Boundary, a supernatural anime that depicts real-life locations.
An anime that follows a high school band, K-On! takes place in Shiga, near Kyoto. It features real-life schools, concert halls, restaurants and parks from Shiga, as well as some Kyoto spots.
Nishinomiya in Hyogo is the location of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and it’s the original story’s writer’s hometown too. Many of the cafés, temples and streets in the anime scenes can be found in the town.
For a taste of Osaka, watch Lovely Complex, a romantic comedy that depicts many of the city’s landmarks. The characters in this one also talk in the lovable Kansai dialect.
Summer Time Rendering takes place on the fictional Hitogashima Island, which is entirely based on the real Tomogashima Island off the coast of Wakayama Prefecture.
Looking Up at the Half-Moon is a short anime series taking place in Mie Prefecture, following teenagers staying in a hospital. The subsequent live-action film was also shot on location in Mie.
Tottori is a special case as it’s the hometown of Gosho Aoyama, the author of Case Closed (Detective Conan). The long-running anime takes place all over Japan, but you can experience it in real life the most in Tottori. With Conan appearances starting at Tottori Airport, the whole prefecture is a treasure trove for Detective Conan fans.
Yakumotatsu (Eight Clouds Rising) is set in Shimane Prefecture and Izumo, the birthplace of Japanese mythology. Its plot delves into myths, superpowers and millennia-old traditions.
The quirky alien comedy Tenchi Muyo! takes place at Tenchi’s house, which is in the grounds of Masaki Shrine in Okayama Prefecture. Many of the characters’ names also match with Okayama toponyms.
Shrine of the Morning Mist‘s location is based on the city of Miyoshi, Hiroshima, known for its morning fog and old temples.
Set in the 1950s, Mai Mai Miracle is a feature anime film set in Hofu city of Yamaguchi Prefecture. Although the city has changed somewhat since the ’50s, the overall resemblance can still be seen.
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Ohenro takes viewers around the famous 88-temple pilgrimage on the island of Shikoku. This anime brings us to several prefectures in Shikoku, but with a strong focus on Tokushima. The story also began as a column in a Tokushima newspaper.
The prefecture with the best udon is naturally the setting for the Poco’s Udon World anime, particularly in Takamatsu and Shodo Island. It shows real-life udon restaurants, shopping streets and nature spots.
Though the island where Mai-HiME takes place is not named or specified, many believe it to be in Ehime Prefecture.
Ocean Waves is a high school romance that takes place in Kochi Prefecture and, as the title suggests, it takes us to the seaside and small towns.
The characters in Yuri!! On Ice figure skate their way to Barcelona, but the main plot takes place in Saga Prefecture, particularly the castle town of Karatsu. Karatsu has embraced this connection and displays the characters around town.
Prefectural Earth Defense Force takes place in Kyushu, and though the prefecture is not specified, people firmly believe it’s Oita.
Bonus: the over-the-top comical Detroit Metal City takes place in Tokyo, but the protagonist is from Inukai, Oita Prefecture.
Natsume’s Book of Friends acquaints us with the supernatural folklore of yokai spirits and takes place in the Hitoyoshi Kuma region of Kumamoto Prefecture. Due to its theme, it shows many old revered temples and shrines, in addition to natural landscapes.
Also known for traditional spirituality, Miyazaki Prefecture is the setting for Ushio and Tora, an anime that takes place in a temple and deals with the supernatural.
Tanegashima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture is the setting of the Robotics;Notes anime. Tanegashima Space Center, the main rocket launch facility for JAXA, features heavily because the main plot centers around the creation of a giant mecha robot.
It seems that every other anime has a filler episode including a trip to Okinawa. There are, however, anime set entirely in Okinawa, including Haitai Nanafa, which features a local soba shop and two sisters helping their grandmother run it. As well as Okinawan food, you can also see beautiful architecture and landscapes.