「レッツゴー キャム!」Cam, Ikuzo! Come follow Camden’s journey! May 2023


Takayama Festival & “Seichi Junrei”

Recently I took part in “seichi junrei” (literally meaning pilgrimage of sacred land), a culture where anime fans visit real life places that were used as a setting for an anime. In high school I became obsessed with the anime “Hyouka” and ever since I have wanted to visit Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture, the place the anime’s setting is based on. When I heard that Takayama was going to hold their spring festival for the first time in 6 years, I thought it would be a great timing for a trip to check it out and also do seichi junrei.

So many foreigners gathered in Takayama for the festival, and after researching for a bit, it turns out that it is one of Japan’s “Big three beautiful festivals.” And I thought that the festival, which was based around mikoshi (portable shrines), was amazing. I was blown away by the intricate designs on the festival floats, which carried mechanical dolls. For those interested in such sculptures and traditional Japanese art, I would recommend Takayama as it is certainly an intangible cultural property of Japan. On a personal level, I would also like to go to Matsudo Shrine's "Shinkosai" festival held every few years, which is said to be one of the more unique festivals in Japan, and see the "wooden sculptures of the four deities" that can be viewed there.

Alternatively, if you want to get a taste of Japan's traditional arts in Matsudo right now, I recommend the Matsudo Museum. When I visited the "Children's Museum" that was held there I thought that the traditional artifacts, such as ukiyo-e and the old remains of earthenware left from what used to be Matsudo City, and it turned out to be a really awesome experience. The Matsudo Museum is holding a new exhibit from now until June 11th called the "Dokidoki Chronology" or "Chronology of Japan's Pottery," were you can view Japan's traditional earthenware, so I highly suggest you check it out!

Children also played a huge role in the festival events, and each of them were calm and collected in carrying out their role in front of the huge crowd of people, whether it be dropping flower petals from on top of the portable shrine, or doing a “lion dance” in the street while wearing a guardian lion costume.


Watch the portable shrine and lion dance video!

For the Seichi Junrei, I wanted to visit some places that were quite far from Takayama station, but luckily I was able to easily visit all of the places from the anime I wanted to see by taking the bus. The places that were the most worthwhile were the coffee shop from Hyouka’s episode 3 (Bag Pipe), the hot spring from episode 7 (Hirayu no Yu), and the huge sakura tree from the 2nd and final episode (Garyuzakura).

There are also plenty of places in Matsudo City that are used in anime. The easiest one to visit for Seichi Junrei is the pedestrian deck outside of Matsudo Station's west exit which is used in multiple anime including "Happy Sugar Life." The background work is done very well in the scenes of this anime, it's like I am actually looking at the pedestrian deck I have walked through so many times before. Looking for anime that use places that are familiar to you is another very fun way to go about seichi junrei.

Actually, I have already done a "seichi junrei" in America before. 5 years ago I visited the prison that was used as the setting for the movie "Shawshank Redemption." In the story the prison is set in Massachusetts, but its real life location is actually in Ohio.

Me at the "Shawshank Prison & Shawshank Museum"

I plan on doing a seminar later this year to introduce to the people of Matsudo the more places in America where "seichi junrei" can be done. For those that have an interest in American films, please be on the look out for it!













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