Spotlight: A Guide Into The Real World Of “Nagi no Asukara”
As Nagi no Asukara enters the final few episodes of the second season, let’s take a look some of the real-life locations which inspired the entire look and atmosphere of Mihama. Just a disclaimer, I did not actually visit the locations personally, nor did I take the photos, these are all referenced from a blog article kai881, a kind Japanese otaku, did when he was out doing some pop-culture tourism. So a big thank you to kai881 and his friends for making the trip and reporting and of course all the wonderful photos. I’m pretty sure they took some time to take the photos in the exact or similar angle that the anime scene was shown. Translation and additional in-depth research on each location was all added in by me. The images and photos are automatically resized by WordPress, so you may want to click on each image to view in its full size to see the comparison.
P.A. Works is not only known for its heartwarming and heart-healing slice-of-life or romance anime, it is also known for certain towns and cities in Japan as location setting or references in their original anime productions.
This is important to the revival of some dying towns and cities in Japan, by appealing to the otaku crowd and helps these towns and cities generate a new form of income through pop-culture tourism. The most notable location would be the Yuwaku Hot Spring in Kanazawa, the capital city of Ishikawa, which was used as the base for Kissuisō in Hanasaku Iroha. Another original P.A. Works animation was Tari Tari, which took place in the cities of Fujisawa and Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture.
So it should come as no surprise that for P.A. Works’ latest original anime production, Nagi no Asukara, would have taken some of its beautiful sceneries from the real life locations found in Japan itself. The majority of the referenced locations is located in Kumano City of the Mie Prefecture. We can reach the city via the Kisei Railway Line.
1) Hadasu Station
First of all, the railway stop that we’ll be stopping at is the Hadasu Station. We see the railway tunnel which appeared in the first trailer for the anime as well as Episode 5, where they were searching for Miuna.
Of course there isn’t really enough distinguishing details in both the anime nor the station’s railway tunnel to match the two together. (It may also be in Fukui Prefecture, Obama city) But judging from the subsequent locations in the anime are also found near this railway station, the possibility that the Hadasu Station is the actual reference point.
2) Tennyoza Musical Hall & Cafe
As you exit the Hadasu Station, you may come across a signboard, with the words “天女座 ホール&カフェ.” You may find this a little familiar, as the anime uses the same location as a reference, but replaces the signboard with “人魚座” (Ningyoza) instead.
The actual Tennyoza (天女座) in Kumano City, is actually a cafe cum music hall. It is a pretty popular place for Kumano City as it is a unique musical hall and cafe which overlooks the ocean and, hence, offers a beautiful panoramic view of the beautiful scenery in Kumano.
Want to see it for yourself, but unable to go to Tennyoza yourself? Don’t worry, here’s a video introduction of the cafe, courtesy of KumanoVideoClub.
Here’s another short video of the musical performances held at Tennyoza.
If you’re interested to know more about the cafe, you can visit its official site, where there is a short English introduction.
So if you happen to chance upon the area, you may want to take a little tea break at Tennyoza and enjoy the fantastic view it offers and submerge yourself in the quiet nature before you set off for the next location.
3) Shinchouto Shipbuilding Company & Shipyard
After leaving Tennyoza, the next destination to search for is the shipyard which appeared in the anime. As it is likely that P.A. Works took most of the inspirations for the locations in the anime from the Mie Prefecture, it is likely the same shipyard will be found in the same Prefecture.
As expected, the shipyard was found at Kii-Nagashima in the town of Kihoku. The shipyard originally belonged to Shinchouto Shipbuilding Company (新長島造船). According to the latest news articles related to the company, it unfortunately filed for bankruptcy in 2013. As the exterior of the shipyard is mostly seen in night scenes of the anime, so it’s hard to see the similarity in the small details. However judging from the general shapes and prominent features of the real shipyard, it is likely that this shipyard is used as the reference model.
Even the construction cranes are similar.
Next, kai881 (the author) actually managed to get permission to go inside the shipyard and take photos from within. It’s actually very generous of the company as it is rare for them to let an outsider inside without a valid reason. But that probably has to do with the fact that there is already no shipbuilding work being done at the moment since the company has filed for bankruptcy.
This is where Hikari went to search for Miuna in Episode 16 of the anime and eventually finds her sitting on one of the various abandoned crates. Even the arrangement of the crates are strikingly similar.
Here’s another angle of the interior of the dock, as compared to that in the anime.
Another one where the scene is seen from behind the staircase.
If you’re still unconvinced that the staff used this shipyard as a reference model, have a look at this photo of the crane used in the actual shipyard. The crane, headlights and even loudspeaker is 99% similar to how they are found in the anime scene.
The scenery and landmarks seen around the docks are also similar to the night scenes and landmarks in the anime.
Like the control room/storeroom here, is also seen in the anime.
However, besides the dock, the buildings around the docks are not that similar to those found in the anime. So it is likely that those are probably referenced somewhere else or direct from the creative minds of the staff. An interesting thing to note is the crossroad leading to the shipyard is actually also pretty similar as well. Though these sort of crossroads are very common in Japan, so it is not certain that the crossroad is actually referenced here. But it seems likely judging from the location and situation seen in the anime.
Unless you intend to go there soon, it is highly unlikely the shipyard is going to be there long as the company has already filed for bankruptcy and the shipyard is probably going to demolish/de-constructed or turned into something else soon.
4) Shoinuko Tunnel (小狗子トンネル)
Lastly, the last location for this guide, will be this special tunnel, called the Shoinuko Tunnel (小狗子トンネル). This tunnel is found in the town of Nachikatsuura, in the Wakayama Prefecture. While it may not be exactly like the tunnels found in the anime, the scenery and how the tunnels are arranged makes it likely that the tunnel was used as a reference point.
This tunnel was used mainly in the past as part of the connection between the Ugui Station to Nachi Station on the old Kisei Main Line, which is now abandoned.
We hereby end this guide with a list of addresses of the above locations, in case any one of you has a chance to visit Japan:
Shinchouto Shipbuilding Company (新長島造船).
Thanks for taking the time to read this guide and hopefully one of you readers out there will one day find this article useful for visiting these places when you go to Japan someday!