On your anime pilgrimage trip you can stand where your favorite anime characters would have stood and see the sites that inspired your favorite manga artists and animators. You can spend a day in the neighborhood of an epic fight or a heartwarming moment. For those who live outside of Japan, these pilgrimages can be integral parts of your travel itineraries.
Today we are going to look at 3 places in Tokyo that appear in the Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal universe that just also happen to exist in our universe as well.
To start this list we are going to be looking at one of the most used places in Sailor Moon, Azabu Juban, 麻布十番, the real world location of the fictional life of Sailor Moon’s protagonist, Usagi Tsukino.
Azabu, 麻布, is a cosmopolitan area with nine residential districts in the Minato Ward in Tokyo. Minato Ward is also where YumeTwins’ headquarters is! Azabu is a trendy area with many shopping areas, good food, and beautiful sites to see. Azabu Juban is one of those nine residential districts in Azabu and is where Usagi lives and goes to school. Coincidentally it is also where Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi lives as well.
Azabu Juban has been described as, “An upscale neighborhood with a downtown vibe” according to Go Tokyo. There are many beautiful neighborhoods that go into high price ranges. The area also houses many foreign embassies so it is quite multicultural as well!
Ms. Takeuchi included a lot of real world locations from Azabu in the Sailor Moon series. While some of them are direct copies, some of the names and the kanji for the names have been altered a bit.
This subway station and transportation hub was kept the same when put into the Sailor Moon universe. This is a real subway station that you can take going in and out of the area in your everyday life. Azabu Juban Station is about 15 minutes away from the popular Shibuya Station.
Another location in Azabu that appears in the series is the school that Usagi attends, Juban Middle School and Juban Municipal High School. Neither of these schools really exists but there is a Azabu Junior and Senior High School in the Azabu District. This real life school is an all boys private prep school with a highly competitive entrance rate. Considering Usagi was known for her low grades, even if the school was co-ed, there is very little chance she would be able to attend.
Within the city of Azabu is the very real Azabu Hikawa Shrine that the very fictional Sailor Mars or Rei Hino works and lives at. Located in another one of the nine residential districts, Motoazabu, Azabu Hikawa Shrine is a Shinto Shrine with history that dates back to 938.
In the series, Sailor Guardian Rei works as a shrine maiden at the Hikawa Shrine that is managed by her grandfather. However, the name has been slightly altered for the Sailor Moon series.
In the real world Hikawa uses these two kanji characters, 氷 and 川 for the name. 氷 read as “hi” meaning ice, 川 read as “kawa” meaning river, 神社. However for the Sailor Moon series they changed the first character that reads as “hi,” to 火 which can also be read as “hi” but the meaning is fire.
This kanji change makes sense considering Sailor Mars’ fire powers and the fact that her own last name of Hino, 火野, uses the same fire kanji character.
Although we can not meet the real Rei Hino at this shrine, they do acknowledge their famous fictional worker at the shrine. To the right of the honden, or main building where the god is kept, is a small stall where you can buy omikuji (sacred lots). They have hung a small Sailor Mars plushie in the window of the stall for visitors to see. Sakuraco has a guide to Shinto shrines in Japan for those who would like more information about the sacred world.
By far the most famous locations and tourist attraction that was used in Sailor Moon is Tokyo Tower. Though to be honest, Tokyo Tower does show up in almost every piece of media that is set in Tokyo. Sailor Moon was created and finished before Tokyo SkyTree was built, making it the tallest broadcasting tower in Japan at the time.
At the time of its construction, Tokyo Tower filled a need for a centralized broadcasting system and a power symbol to prove its technological advancement to the world. Since then, it has solidified itself along with Mount Fuji and cherry blossoms as symbols of Japanese culture. On a clear, beautiful day make sure you visit the observation decks 150 meters and 250 meters above ground level.
Want more Sailor Moon places to visit during your next trip to Japan? Make sure you check out the YumeTwins tour of The Sailor Moon Store in Harajuku, Tokyo as well. The flagship store is located right next to the famous Meiji Shrine which is dedicated to Emperor Meiji.
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