Offbeat, Anime Pilgrimage Point

K-On rules in Toyosato.

K-On rules in Toyosato.

Toyosato is a very small town roughly an hour north of Kyoto. Historically, it was just one of the villages along the old Nakasendo highway, with a few shrines to visit. Then, some animators from Kyoto came to visit…

Toyosato elementary

Designed by William Vories and built in 1937, this heritage building is now much more famous, for a much more contemporary reason.

The Toyosato elementary school, which had been slated to be destroyed, when it became the model for Sakuragaoka high school in K-On!, a comedic anime about four girls who play instruments in their school’s Light Music club. The school has since been entered into the Registered Tangible Cultural Properties of Japan list. Anime saves the day again!

The beautiful, well-preserved hall-ways within the school.

The beautiful, well-preserved hall-ways within the school.

The school has become a centre-piece of the town, as well as it’s biggest tourist draw-card. Festivals, concerts, and birthday parties for the anime characters are all held here. Visitors can come throughout the year to see the school, and enjoy the various rooms made up to look like scenes from the show, buy K-On goods, and draw on the chalkboards.

Click on the gallery for bigger pictures.

The summer festival held in early August in the school grounds is also well worth a visit. School children design beautiful lanterns, there is a huge, traditional dance party, and a very welcoming atmosphere make it a wonderful summer evening out. 

Cool kimono pose beside hand-drawn lanterns at Toyosato's summer festival.

Cool kimono pose beside hand-drawn lanterns at Toyosato’s summer festival.

4 thoughts on “Offbeat, Anime Pilgrimage Point

  1. I don’t know that much about anime, but I take it that K-on was amazingly popular? It’s good to see them turn it into such a boon for the town’s economy and everything.


      • The Wifey and Beanie are great! She’s such a clever little Potato (my new nickname for her) and she brings us so much joy and delight with every random thing she does. I’m trying to come online more often now. I mostly write in the Beanie blog these days so I’m a bit antisocial.


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