The Otaku Pilgrimage: Kyoto and Nara

  From around Lake Biwa (Shiga Prefecture) to the area around Osaka Bay is the Greater Osaka area. This is one area in which Japan’s imperial court resided for over a thousand years. Internationally famous tourist destinations like Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe are concentrated in this area, which is the smallest definition of Kansai. Some of these locations can be seen in K-On! Season 2 Episode 4 & Lucky Star Episode 21.

  The K-On! characters go on a graduation trip to Kyoto in Season 2 episode 4. We see many famous landmarks in this episode, from the Kyoto Tower, Golden Pavilion Park, and a few temples and shrines.

  Time magazine article: Ten things to do in Kyoto: True Martial World

  Lucky Star also visited the Kansai area in episode 21 for the characters’ graduation trip. This episode is full of sightseeing highlights in Kyoto and Nara. Considering how the K-On! and Lucky Star adaptations are created by Kyoto Animation, it would make sense that these local places are proudly captured in the series.


 Stop #4: Toyosato-cho, Shiga Prefecture


  Afterschool Tea Time

  Let’s get back to where Lake Biwa is. Just below Lake Biwa, we can see the sacred site of K-On!: Toyosato-cho in the Shiga Prefecture.

  At the beginning of Season 1 Episode 4 of K-On!, the characters go to a beach, go in to the water, and comment that the water is salty and that there are waves. You might feel it odd that they’re simply stating the obvious (because they are), but now that you know that their town is by a big freshwater lake, these reactions may be more meaningful. At the same time, you might also notice that the girls speak in standard Japanese and they travel to Kyoto in bullet trains, supposedly coming from Kanto (in Season 2 episode 4).

  Like sacred sites of some other anime, Toyosato welcomes the K-On! pilgrims. They have services for them and even put up street signs with K-On!-like characters.

Read novel: Ancient strengthening technique

  Possibly one of the most famous localities is the Toyosato Elementary School. It is used as the basis for the girls’ school in the show. Toyosato Elementary is no longer used as a school, but it is a quiet, relaxing place to visit with a number of rooms that are dedicated to K-On!. It is a great place to visit if you want to see what Japanese schools look like.