Tokyo in 6 pop culture places

Comics Movie Video game Music Novel TV show
Discover Tokyo through six major pop culture locations. From My Neighbor Totoro to Akira, through The Strange Library or Persona 5.
Reality/Fiction Tokyo

Satsuki and Mei’s house – My neighbor Totoro by Hayao Miyazaki (1988)

Reconstruction of Mei and Satsuki's house at the Aichi World Exposition Memorial Park
Reconstruction of Mei and Satsuki’s house at the Aichi World Expo Memorial Park – Credit: 日:Muramasa, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to shaping the world in which his characters, the sisters Mei and Satsuki Kusakabe and Totoro, the legendary forest spirit, will evolve, director Hayao Miyazaki is greatly inspired by Sayama Hills Park, about 40 kilometers from Tokyo, where he has a residence.

Located inside the Aichi World Exposition Memorial Park in Nagakute, the My Neighbor Totoro movie house is a favorite meeting place for fans. It reproduces exactly the setting of the famous animated film. In the entrance, for example, the shoes of the two sisters are laid out, while inside, all their belongings are stored as if at any moment they would return. Even the kitchen is bathed in the smell of dried bonito, as if someone had just prepared food.

Address: 乙1533-1 Ibaragabasama, Nagakute, Aichi 480-1342, Japan

Hikawa Shrine – Sailor Moon (1992)

Hikawa Shrine
“Akasaka Hikawa Shrine “by *_* is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Fans of the anime series Sailor Moon are familiar with the Hikawa Shrine. It is in this place of worship that Rei Hino, aka Sailor Mars, lives and works with her grandfather. Their main income depends on the amulets they sell, which are supposed to bring good luck.

The shrine is also in the credits of the feature films Sailor Moon R and Sailor Moon. The most famous of the 59 shrines and the main Shinto shrine, the buildings of Hikawa-jinja were built in 1730 by Tokugawa Yoshimune to become his personal place of worship. When you pray in these places, it is appropriate to pull the ropes to ring the bells attached to them. This is to attract the attention of the spirits present at the shrine.

Address: Hikawa-jinja 6-chōme-10-12 Akasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0052, Japan

Shibuya Crossroads – Take Me Home by Phil Collins (1985)

Shibuya Crossroads
“Crowded Shibuya Crossing” by koalie is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

On tour in Japan, notably for a concert in April 1985 at Shibuya Kōkaidō where he performs the song Take Me Home, Phil Collins takes the opportunity to shoot a quick sequence at the Shibuya crossroads. It captures this time of night to have less crowd but the number of pedestrians is still important. A webcam filmed 24 hours of traffic on this intersection. There are only 9 seconds in a row where no one crosses this intersection in the middle of the night.

Very appreciated in Japan, Phil Collins has, moreover, a building dedicated to him. Built in 1988, the building at 3-chōme-8-10 Nishikubo in the town of Musashino near Tokyo proudly displays “Phil Collins” calligraphy at its top. The rent for a 290 sq ft apartment is approximately 73,000 yen (€550).

Address: Shibuya Crossroads2-chōme-2-1 Dōgenzaka, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan

The Waseda International House of Literature – Haruki Murakami’s Strange Library (2015)

In 2015, Haruki Murakami published his short story The Strange Library. He had no idea that, six years later, an institution would bear his name. Even better, the brand new library dedicated entirely to the work of the famous living author is located on the campus of his former university, Waseda. On these very benches where he dreamed of theatrical arts and of becoming a film scriptwriter. 3,000 books translated into 50 different languages, a replica of his office and a personal archive of documents are present in this incredible collection, in a building renovated for the occasion. To visit, simply reserve a time slot on the university’s website. You should allow 90 minutes for a visit in the footsteps of the novelist.

Address: The Haruki Murakami Library, 1 Chome-6 4, Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 169-0051

The Olympic Stadium of Neo-Tokyo – Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo (1982)

New national stadium tokyo 1.jpg More details Aerial view of Japan National Stadium, Tokyo (CC BY-SA 3.0 / Arne Müseler)
New national stadium tokyo 1.jpg More details Aerial view of Japan National Stadium, Tokyo (CC BY-SA 3.0 / Arne Müseler)

In the mangaAkira by Katsuhiro Otomo, the megalopolis of Neo-Tokyo is located northwest of old Tokyo. It is in this dark and abandoned part of the city that the authorities decide to build the Olympic Stadium.

The series takes place in 2019 and Japan is scheduled to host the major sporting event the following year. In this, Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of the series, was visionary. He did not know during his realization between 1982 and 1990 that his country would organize the Olympic Summer Games in 2020. In fact, the event was postponed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Address: Japan National Stadium10-1 Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0013, Japan

Café Leblanc – Persona 5 by Atlus P Studio (2016)

Café Leblanc - Persona 5 - screenshot (Atlus P Studio)
Café Leblanc – Persona 5 – screenshot (Atlus P Studio)

This new opus of Persona proposes to evolve in the Japanese capital whose modeling is one of the great qualities of the game. Several places in the city are recognizable, including the Leblanc café.

This one is none other than the Had A Good Day bar. It is considered one of the most authentic and relaxing cafés in the city. Unfortunately, there is no Joker’s room upstairs. In 2020, Persona 5 was given a new version translated into French, entitled Persona 5 Royal.

Address: Bar Had A Good Day, 2 Chome-13-5, Sangenjaya, Setagaya City, Tokyo 154-0024

The Fantrippers Buying Board

TOKYO map of 100 cult places [French Edition]

Tokyo as you have never seen it before. Except through the legendary heroes and heroines of pop culture! Get off the beaten track and discover Hayao Miyazaki’s city through your favorite movies, series, music, comics, novels and video games!

Fantrippers' opinion
Content quality

Interest for fans

Value for money

By Damien Canteau

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Passionné par l'Histoire, les animés, les Arts et la bande dessinée en particulier, Damien est le rédacteur en chef du site spécialisé dans le 9e art, Comixtrip.

Let's discuss this article

Notify of

0 Commentaires
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments