Between the steep hillside and the Seto Inland Sea, there’s a small port town called Onomichi, a quaint little town full of temples and shrines, which also happens to be the home of Japan’s Ministry of Fishery’s space program. With all the fish gone from the entire sea, Japan sets out to explore new fishing grounds, in order to satisfy people’s demand for seafood. In gigantic man-made fish tanks in trouter space, fishermen now fish with their submarine mecha pods, capable of summoning weapons and deities through a special smartphone app. Protagonist Haru dreams of being among the first female space fishermen, which brings her to the space fishing capital of the world, Onomichi. And she probably won’t be the last to make her way there.
Between the Sky and Sea’s setup is entertainingly absurd, while also featuring quite a few faithfully depicted Onomichi locations, with which the city probably hopes to reel in a few tourists hooked on the show. So, in this edition of Anime vs. Reel Life, we’ll take a look at the setting of Deadliest Catch Between the Sky and Sea.
*All images were taken with Google Street View
While the show is set in the near future, the show’s locations are not. Onomichi Station is currently under renovation, which is why TMS probably opted to just use an older reference photo from Google Street View. If you look closely, you’ll see that everything in the picture aligns a tad too perfectly for it to be coincidence. It’s even more obvious to see in the picture below.
It’s fairly easy to spot that a Street View image was used for reference here, as the railing, the stone bridge, and the yellow and black markers behind line up perfectly again.
But now back to Onomichi. The picturesque port town is located in Hiroshima Prefecture along the Seto Inland Sea. Despite being generally known for its many temples and mazelike slopes, Onomichi is much more urban just asHaru soon begins to realize. Pictured above is the Shimanami Concert Hall and Fukuya department store.
She soon stumbles across Onomichi U2, a renovated warehouse currently serving as a cyclist-friendly hotel. Onomichi marks the start of the Shimanami Kaido, a 60km bicycle road that connects Honshu to Shikoku, crossing seven bridges and six islands in between. I wouldn’t be surprised if we still get to see the bicycle highway as part of the girls’ training in the anime soon.
The town is no stranger to anime tourism, and pop-culture tourism in general. Anime like Kamichu!, Blue Drop, and Tamayura have used the town as a setting before, as well as video games like Yakuza 6, and famous movies like Tokyo Story.
Being the airhead that she is, Haru soon starts wandering aimlessly around the city, probably not knowing that she’s strolling along the city’s famous Temple Walk. For such a small town, Onomichi has a surprisingly large number of temples, many of which are located along the scenic slopes, so there’s a designated walking trail that connects 25 of them. Here she is, lost in front of the Kairyuji Temple.
But being lost doesn’t stop Haru to enjoy interesting sights, such as the Tsuzumiiwa (also called Pon Pon Rock), which sounds hollow when tapped with a hard object like the chained hammer, which is also there in real life.
Next to the Pon Pon Rock is this odd-looking rock formation with a root growing out of one of its cracks. Another designated walking route is the Path of Literature, passing 25 stone monuments with poems and songs written on them. The one here with a poem by Sanyou Rai next to the root, marks the end of the trail.
Behind the Ushitora Shrine is a ropeway station, unfortunately not capable of launching people into space, but is at least able to get Haru to the top of Senkoji Park.
Atop the hill are the picturesque Senkoji Temple and also the Senkoji Observation Platform, both with a great view of the city.
They might or might not sell some tasty space fish in the 3km long Hondori Shopping Arcade.
The Onomichi City Hall is also home of the Universe Fishery Union, but only in the anime.
If you take a closer a look at the first image of this article, you’ll notice that the castle atop the hill is actually missing. And even though they train near the castle ground here, we still haven’t seen the castle in the anime for some reason.
The shipyard seems to be real, but I still haven’t managed to find the giant space fishing base.
Ferries leaving from this dock across the train station go to Hiroshima, Mukaijima, and many of the other nearby islands in the Seto Inland Sea.
The Sumiyoshi Shrine along the waterfront. With that many shrines and temples around, it makes a bit more sense that the space fishers are able to summon deities for help (although I’m not really sure how Odin managed to find his way to Onomichi).
Between the hill and sea is the Shimazui Manor, which serves as the girl’s dorm in the anime. The stately home was built in 1931 and named after a wealthy merchant, and now serves as a hotel in real life. Space fishing really does seem to be lucrative, if even the dorms for trainees look this noble.
Have you been hooked on Between the Sky and Sea? Will we really start fishing in orbital space tanks in the near future? What does space sushi taste like? 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.