While Kyoto took the spotlight in the second part of Anime vs. Real Life's coverage of Tsukigakirei, today’s installment is going to focus fully on Kawagoe again. After their short class trip in episode four, Kotarou and Akane are back home again, meaning that we get to see a whole lot more of Tsukigakirei’s lovely main setting. Even though some parts of the show’s animation have been a bit wonky in the past couple episodes, the backgrounds, and the locations depicted in them, remain as beautiful as ever, giving us a good feel for the small city just a bit north of Tokyo (which often gets referred to as “Little Edo”). This article covers episodes five through eight.
*All images were taken with GOOGLE STREET VIEW (images I shot myself will be marked ‘WD’)
In the fifth episode, Kotarou’s and Akane’s relationship is not yet public, so Hira asks Akane to join him on his way home. They take a breather at this small pavilion located within Takushi Park, along the Shingashi River. It’s definitely a nice little romantic and quiet spot, but Akane's head is in the clouds, thinking about Kotarou her slow track times.
The pavilion in Takushi Park was also the location of one of the funny ending bits, in which Miu asks her boyfriend Inaba a couple of trick questions.
Takazawa Bridge crossing the Shingashi River.
Running north of Kawagoe Station is Crea Mall, which incorporates two long shopping streets, Kawagoe Sunroad and Kawagoe Shintomicho.
Kotarou’s and Chinatsu’s cram school is also located along the Shintomicho shopping street.
Takazawa Bridge again, this time from the other side. It’s here where Chinatsu starts to take a definite interest in Kotarou.
And just a bit downstream of Takazawa Bridge is the small Ochaya Bridge.
At the end of the fifth episode, Akane and Kotarou meet up at the bookstore where he works part-time, all thanks to the incredibly understanding bookstore owner. The store can be found along the Taisho-roman Street, which is filled with old historic buildings; however, the shop itself is actually a Japanese confectionary in real life.
The Tayazeki sluice along the Shingashi River.
And on the opposite site of the sluice are the steps where Akane informs Chinatsu that she and Kotarou are dating.
In episode six, both of them have to briefly go their separate ways, tackling different challenges. They depart from Hon-Kawagoe Station here.
Akane heads north to Kumagaya, where she and her track team take part in a sports festival at the Kumagaya Sports Culture Park – which unfortunately didn’t go so well for her.
Meanwhile, Kotarou heads south to Tokyo, getting off at Iidabashi Station in the Chiyoda Ward. Incidentally, Iidabashi Station’s B2a exit was also featured in the Eromanga Sensei episode that exact same week.
From Iidabashi Station, it’s only a short hop to Kadokawa’s 3rd Headquarter Building in the Fujimi area. Unfortunately, his meeting with an editor doesn’t go over well, ending with the editor telling him that he lacks the talent to write ‘actual’ novels, suggesting him to maybe give writing light novels a try. But hey, Eromanga’s Masamune should still be in the building as well, so Kotarou might’ve been able to at least get some advice on how to write an engaging light novel.
The prominent Hikawa Bridge, which I’ll get back to a little further down in the article.
Café Anti is another location we get see in one of those funny end bits between Miu and Inaba.
The entirety of Tsukigakirei’s episode seven takes place in Tokyo Dome City, an extensive entertainment complex in Tokyo. Located within the vast compound is the Tokyo Dome baseball stadium, home of the Yomiuri Giants, a spa, a hotel, and well, the amusement park.
Kumano Shrine back in Kawagoe, which is where Kotarou is prepping for the Kawagoe Festival, which I’m sure will be the venue of Tsukigakirei’s grand finale.
But first comes the Hikawa Shrine Wind Chime Festival, so Akane and Kotarou meet up a bit north of Kawagoeshi Station.
They then slowly make their way towards Hikawa Shrine, passing through Kashiya Yokocho (Penny Candy Lane). The small side street in the old Kurazukuri warehouse district is lined with candy shops. The area temporarily became the main producer and supplier of candies for the entire region after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. And just like Kotarou mentions in the show, Kawagoe truly is known for its sweet potatoes. I myself tried out some of the local sweet potato ice cream while I was there, and let’s just say that was enough sweet potatoes for me that day.
They then continue their stroll along Kurazukuri Street (which I already talked plenty about in my first article about the show), checking out a few of the many shops along the way. And hey, if anyone of you caught Kotarou’s birthday during that scene, it’s the same as mine, so make sure to write that down in your calendars!
And at the end of the day, our two lovebirds head to the romantic Hikawa Shrine. The shrine was founded approximately over 1500 years ago, and one of the deities enshrined there is known as a god of marriage. Pictured above is the shrine’s 15 meters tall wooden torii gate.
Lovely wind chimes (called furin) deck out the shrine’s compound, inspiring the now annual Hikawa Shrine Wind Chime Festival in 2014. One of the highlights of the festival is the Furin Kairo, a corridor of numerous wind chimes in eleven different colors. Even Tsukigakirei’s director, Seiji Kishi, chimed in on Twitter by posting some of the photos he took during the festival, which also made it into the updated opening. He also stated that he wants to go again this year. Tsukigakirei’s official Twitter account has been actively promoting Kawagoe.
The glowing river, supposed to symbolize the Milky Way, is also an attraction of the festival.
And as promised, Hikawa Bridge, which is located right behind the shrine. It was obvious from the get-go that the bridge was going to play a prominent role in the anime, as it was also gracing Tsukigakirei’s key visual, and it sure did. Hikawa Bridge was the spot where our young couple *SPOILER ALERT* shared their first kiss!
The updated map:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Tsukigakirei rapidly turned into my favorite show this season, and I’d kindly like to ask all of you to give the show a try. What do you guys think is still store for us in the last couple of episodes? Sound off in the comments below!
You can follow Wilhelm on Twitter @Surwill.