ISLAND’s mysteries are gradually starting to unravel as the show takes us all over its gorgeous island setting, Niijima!
From an impressive ancient Greece-inspired open-air hot spring to the most mundane streets, studio feel. has been putting out an impressive number of new backgrounds week in and week out, making sure we get to see every nook and cranny of the paradise-like island in the far south of Tokyo. In case you missed my first article about ISLAND, the show’s Urashima is modeled after the island of Niijima, known for its endless white sand beaches and countless moai-like statues, which are scattered around the whole island. In the article I claimed that the island’s name was probably a reference to the legend of Urashima Taro, which it was indeed, and that we’ll soon get to see Niijima’s remarkable open-air hot spring animated, which finally happened in the latest episode, providing me with a good opportunity to write another real-life comparison article about ISLAND.
*All images were taken with GOOGLE STREET VIEW
To be honest, it really wasn’t a bold claim of mine, since the Yunohama Roten Onsen is one of Niijima’s most iconic landmarks. The open-air hot spring, with its ancient Greece-inspired architecture, is free to use and is open to the public 24 hours a day. And thanks to its seaside location, the six different baths even have a great view of the ocean.
Visitors are required to wear a swimsuit, since this is a mixed gender bath.
From the top of the hot spring, it should also be possible to see the nearby shine, Wind and Wave Tower. The carved flight of stairs is made fully out of koga rock, a special kind of volcanic stone only found on Niijima and the Italian island of Lipari.
Not really visible in the image above, the road ahead can be somewhat considered the center of the small island, as there are a few restaurants, souvenir shops, and stores selling everything necessary for the perfect beach day.
In the anime, this road here seems to lead up to Rinne’s mansion. However, the mansion’s model is not actually located on Niijima, but somewhere else, which you’ll find out a little further down.
A good way to explore the island is by bicycle, so there a numerous rental shops around the island, like the one to the left. Setsuna travels around the island by bike most of the time as well.
The unusual-looking white structure marks the entrance to Habushiura beach, located on the east side of the island. The long white sand beach is particularly popular among surfers, and is the venue for numerous surfing competitions throughout the year.
When you think of Tokyo, you wouldn’t necessarily think of long beaches and lush green mountains, but Niijima is in fact under the jurisdiction of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
This octopus (?) statue is one of many statues scattered across the whole island, which are all made out of the aforementioned koga rock.
Just like in the anime, the Niijima Welfare Hall really has a bowling alley to offer.
And after beating Setsuna at bowling, Rinne gets treated to a victory ice cream at the nearby Morita Liquor Shop.
Just like the inscription on the stone to the left says, this little spot on the west coast of the island is a good place to watch the sunset, and the perfect spot for Setsuna and Rinne to conclude their first date.
In the fourth episode, Setsuna heads to the port together with Karen, where they set sail towards Tokyo. If you’re looking for the perfect way to travel to the real-life Urashima, the Tokai Kisen Seven Island ferry takes you from Tokyo to Niijima in less than three hours, and as a current special collaboration, the announcements on board are voiced by none other than Yukari Tamura, Rinne’s voice actress.
They arrive at the Takeshiba Pier in Tokyo, and then walk straight to Hamamatsucho Station, where they set off on their journey to find Karen’s mother.
Speaking of Tokyo, if Karen and Setsuna would’ve passed through the Komaba Park, they might’ve stumbled across a familiar looking house. The model for Rinne’s mansion on Urashima is actually the former western-styled residence of General Toshinari Maeda. The three-story brick house is at the center of the park, which also contains the Museum of Modern Japanese Literature.
If you’re ever in the mood for an ISLAND vacation, you can check out all the relevant spots here:
Does Niijima seem like a place you’d like to visit someday? And who’s your favorite character in the show so far? Sound off in the comments below!
Wilhelm is an anime tourist, who loves to search for and uncover the real-world spots he sees in anime. You can talk with him on Twitter @Surwill.