2017 No.21

街歩きにっぽんStrolling Japan


Seen Through Anime Film “Your Name.”
Hida Takayama


Mountains surround the Hida region, in northern Gifu Prefecture, at the center of Japan. This beautiful region, which offers fine walks in nature and into Japan’s past, is experiencing renewed interest as a tourist destination and fun place to stroll because of a hit animation film set there.

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Sanmachi Nationally Recognized Important Historical Building Preservation Area An old merchant street, part of the area registered as Japan’s Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Building. Hop on a rickshaw for a fun bouncy ride. (Photo: Aflo)

Kaba Sake Brewery Long-standing sake brewery established in 1704. Together with the white-walled warehouse along the Setogawa River, it has been registered as a tangible cultural property.

Furukawa Festival’s Okoshi Daiko (Rousing Drum) The sound of the great drum can be heard late into the night on April 19.

In 2016, the animated film “Your Name.” (Kimi no Na ha.) suddenly put Hida City in the spotlight for anime devotees. The plot begins with a strange incident in which a high school boy living in Tokyo, named Taki, and a high school girl named Mitsuha, in the fictional town of Itomori, somehow switch bodies back and forth. They realize this and begin to communicate, eventually becoming attracted to one another. They attempt to meet but never quite make it. The bittersweet storyline brought tears to women and men, young and old.

Though a fictional town, Itomori is modeled here and there on Hida City landscapes. Soon after the movie’s release, fans streamed to Hida City to walk the various scenic spots made familiar by Taki and Mitsuha in the romance fantasy.

After leaving Tokyo on the bullet train, Taki connects to a local line at Nagoya. The first station where he alights is modeled after Hida Furukawa Station, gateway to Hida City. He stops to do research at a library modeled after the Hida Municipal Library. Then, searching for Mitsuha’s town of Itomori, he passes a shrine based on Ketawakamiya Shrine, famous for its Furukawa Festival, inscribed on December 1, 2016, into the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The festival is one of Japan’s Three Great “Naked Festivals” and is held April 19–20 every year. Several hundred men clad only in cotton loincloths carry pallets bearing Okoshi Daiko drums through the streets—quite a spectacle.

Though Mitsuha is depicted as being tired of country life and dreaming of city life in Tokyo, city moviegoers find the vast nature and leisurely pace of life in Hida greatly appealing. It is somehow reminiscent of old Japan, and perhaps that nostalgia is what triggers many to travel there.

© 2016 “Your Name.” Film Committee

Ketawakamiya Shrine In the scene in which Taki asks locals for directions, the stairs seen in the background are modeled after Ketawakamiya Shrine.

Hida Furukawa Station The view from the railway bridge on the north side of the station is of the landscape shown in the movie.

Hida Municipal Library* The library where Taki did research about Itomori, a fictional town, was modeled after the Hida Municipal Library.

*A permit acquired at the front desk is required to take photos inside the Hida Municipal Library. Photography is allowed only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. When taking photos, please respect others’ privacy.