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Japan Tourism Increase for Sacred Anime Sites

Shrines Anime Temples & Shrines Tokyo
Japan Tourism Increase for Sacred Anime Sites

More foreign tourists are coming to Japan than ever before, with about 32 million visiting in 2019. And many of them are coming just to see the sights represented in their favorite anime series.

Devotees of Japanese animation, or anime, have something unique on their agendas: touring sites featured in their favorite flicks.

Kanda Myojin is one of Tokyo’s oldest and most powerful shrines. Anime fans have many good reasons to visit. Getting a stamp of a character from the anime movie Love Live! for example.

Love Live! is the story of 9 girls that start an idol group to save their school from closing. One of them has a part-time job Kanda Myojin! The shrine sells omamori protective amulets and other merchandise featuring Love Live! characters. Foreign tourists love it.

One of the most popular items is the castella manju, small cakes with chocolate filling. They fly off the shelves. Some patrons are looking for the collectible sticker inside. If you collect all nine stickers, you’re supposed to find happiness! Stickers are inserted in the packages at random. The idea is to keep buying the cakes until you collect all nine.

Kanda Myojin’s stone stairway is also popular with the Love Live! crowd. Most visitors remember Myojin Otoko-zaka as the steep hill they climb to reach the shrine. But Anime fans see something else. The hill appears in the film multiple times. Kanda Myojin staff hope anime attention will connect to something else. The shrine has done collaborations with 20 other films since Love Live! merchandise came out in 2014.