The town of Iwami in Tottori became known worldwide in the summer of 2013 as the location model for sexy summer swimming anime Free! and the town's tourism committiee has been actively using the anime to promote the town. One such effort was a cosplay contest on Makoto's birthday last year with a squid festival seen in the show, as previously reported. The video of the festivities was just posted for the rest of us to check it out and is also posted below.
This 20 minute video was first broadcast on a local cable station called Iwami Cho Channel as a special program. In the video, you can see the actual locations used in the anime while the host in Nagisa cosplay goes around the town to complete the stamp rally during the event on November 17th, 2013. There are also interviews of visitors, including fans in cosplay and even multi-generational fans, like the female members of a family that are all Free! fans and the event volunteers who are just happy to welcome young visitors to the otherwise forgotten rural fishing town.
The host of the program is a local anime song DJ and a cosplayer, known as Saoririsu, in Nagisa cosplay.
The Iwami town mayor also gave a speech to open the event welcoming all Free! fans. He mentioned in the speech that because of the anime, the town became known worldwide.
Cosplayers gathered for the cosplay contest above.
Visitors are generally welcomed to hold photoshoots at locations in town in cosplay.
The female members of above family are all Free! fans, including the mom who is a Rei fan. When asked about it, the husband answered that this gave the whole family a reason to travel together and that makes him happy.
A ramdom Iwatobi-chan in a family home indicates the place is open to visitors for free tea and a snack inside.
Free! fans should be able to recognize this stairway at Tajiri Shirine, above.
At the squid festival, Sabapple sandwiches are offered.
The host asked the local volunteer for her impressions of the sandwich, because of the unusual combination for Japanese tastes, the volunteer politely replied it's a good combination of salty and sweet, but the host was still not convinced.
Town of Iwami is known for squid and the delicious baked squid made the host happy.
Participants of the event also had an oppotunity to sign the bricks, just like in the anime. The town is hopeful for a second season of the anime, its continued popularity and being ready to support the visitors to enjoy their stay for the real-life experience in the place where the Free! boys grew up.
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