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  • Real-life Locations of “Natsume’s Book of Friends” in Kumamoto’s Countrysides (Part 1)

    For fans of the “Natsume’s Book of Friends”, when following the anime series through all its seasons – currently six single-cur seasons over the span of the past 10 years; and now with an anime movie “Natsume’s Book of Friends: Ephemeral Bond” to celebrate its 10th Anniversary – the one common question they can’t help but ask/ponder would probably be: ‘The background scenery is beautiful; are these based off real locations?’

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    The answer is ‘Yes!’ The anime series, which was adapted from the manga series of the same title written and illustrated by mangaka Yuki Midorikawa, was actually based off real-life locations in Japan’s Kyushu region – specifically the Kumamoto Prefecture, where the mangaka hailed from. Now, to celebrate the anime movie’s grossing ticket sales topping the box office last week at its opening weekend (29 ~ 30 September 2018), the media-site Nijimen has gathered and compiled a series of real-life location pictures as taken by fans of the series who have traversed the countrysides of Kumamoto Prefecture – all in the  spirit of “seichi meguri” – i.e. literally translated as ‘holy-locations pilgrimage‘. The locations are mainly from the rural cities Hitoyoshi and Yatsushiro; as well as the lush natural beauty of the mountainous volcanic plains of the Aso region.

    For the first part of this post – let’s take a look at the real-life locations covered in Seasons 1 through 3 of the “Natsume’s Book of Friends” anime series!

    From Season 1

    Episode 6 – Ichifusa Dam and Lake:

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    Episode 7 – Okoba Train Station:

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    Episode 13 – Haraigo Bridge:

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    From Season 2

    OP themesong sequence – Haruyama Bus-stop; slope near the bus-stop:

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    OP themesong sequence – Tamachi Sugawara Tenmagu Shrine:

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    OP themesong sequence – Kasamatsu Bridge:

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    Episode 10 – Bishamon-do:

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    From Season 3

    OP themesong sequence – Tengu Bridge:

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    Episode 4 – O-Kadome Jizo Shrine; the inter-cities link-bridge:

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    Episode 6 – Shrine near Rokuro Village:

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    Episode 13 – Miyajidake Shrine:

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    © Yuki Midorikawa・Hakusensha / Natsume Yuujincho Production Committee © Hitoyoshi City © Yatsushiro City © Kuma Village

    These are basically not the entirety of all the real-life locations in “Natsume’s Book of Friends” for the anime’s first 3 seasons – there are a lot more but these are the more notable spots. The second part of this series will cover locations from the anime’s Seasons 4 through 6; as well as the mystical mountain shrine featured in another one of Yuki Midorikawa’s manga that has been made into a short animated film – “Hotarubi no Mori e” (lit. ‘Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light’)… and a little bonus. So do stay tuned!

     



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