4 Places from Cult Anime You Can Visit (Not Only in Japan)

4 Places from Cult Anime You Can Visit (Not Only in Japan)
Image credit: Toei Company

If you're a fan of Naruto or Spirited Away, it may be time to pack your bags.

Anime is beloved for carefully thought-out details, and its own extraordinary worlds. However, sometimes these fictional worlds overlap with ours – anime creators often take real places and transfer them into 2D dimension.

If you think that all these places are only located in Japan, you'll be surprised – animators were often inspired by a much closer and more familiar Europe.

1. Howl’s Moving Castle – Colmar, France

It was the remarkable architecture of the French city of Colmar that inspired Hayao Miyazaki when he created one of his most famous projects – Howl's Moving Castle.

In the anime, you can see the Pfister House with its pointed green roof, built in 1537 and named in honor of the family that owned it. Colmar is famous for its lavish holiday celebrations, especially its Christmas market, which attracts tourists from all over the world. So pack your bags, there's still time before Christmas.

2. Spirited Away – Jiufen, China

In the 2000s, after the release of the widely acclaimed and still popular animated film Spirited Away, Jiufen, located in Taiwan, became known as the place that inspired Hayao Miyazaki himself (although the animator has not confirmed this).

The similarities between Jiufen and the town in Spirited Away are obvious, and you can find many pictures comparing scenes from the movie to real places in Jiufen. In this town teeming with tourists from all over the world, all the shops are full of Hayao Miyazaki's characters, from Totoro to No-Face.

3. Naruto – Fukuoka, Japan

In the cult anime, the favorite hangout of Naruto and his friends is Ramen Ichiraku. The restaurant was originally a shop near Kyusandai-mae Station in Fukuoka, which Masashi Kishimoto, the manga's creator, often visited while studying at the university.

The shop attracted many fans of this story, but unfortunately it is now closed. However, there are still two branches in the town, one of which is located in the Hakata area near the waterfront – this is where you can buy Naruto souvenirs.

4. Kiki's Delivery Service – Stockholm, Sweden

In Kiki's Delivery Service, a young witch flies to a new town. This is an old tradition – a witch has to live alone for a year, without her parents. Hayao Miyazaki started working on this animation right after My Neighbor Totoro. However, unlike Totoro, which was set in Japan, Kiki's Delivery Service takes us to Europe.

The city in which Kiki must learn to live independently was inspired by Stockholm. Miyazaki's team and the master himself traveled to Sweden to ensure that the setting in their new animation was as realistic as possible. The capital of Sweden is famous for its buildings that look like doll's houses, and embankments with picturesque views.