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?’
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:
Episode 7 – Okoba Train Station:
Episode 13 – Haraigo Bridge:
From Season 2
OP themesong sequence – Haruyama Bus-stop; slope near the bus-stop:
OP themesong sequence – Tamachi Sugawara Tenmagu Shrine:
OP themesong sequence – Kasamatsu Bridge:
Episode 10 – Bishamon-do:
From Season 3
OP themesong sequence – Tengu Bridge:
Episode 4 – O-Kadome Jizo Shrine; the inter-cities link-bridge:
Episode 6 – Shrine near Rokuro Village:
Episode 13 – Miyajidake Shrine:
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!