The Infinite Zenith

When life demands your A game, bring your A+ game

Kanazawa, Ishikawa: Home of Hanasaku Iroha

Yuwaku Hot Spring is located in Kanazawa, Ishikawa,  the area that inspired the town seen in Hanasaku Iroha. In May 2011, the regional hotels saw a sudden spike in tourism despite seeing nearly 1500 guests cancelling their reservations in light of the Touhoku Earthquake in March. However, within months of Hanasaku Iroha’s release, all nine hotels were booked solid before the May holidays in Yuwaku. Coinciding with the tendencies found in anime fans,  purchases of Yuwaku Cider has seen a remarkable surge: the cider can be seen in the first ending sequence. As per usual, I have posted several comparisons between the real world and the anime equivalent of the location.

  • This is a street near Yuwaku Hot Springs. Glance around at the top image, and the bottom image, and notice how closely the anime replicates the details in the real world, right down to the sign and buildings. In the anime, the location is depicted in the first episode when Ohana arrives in the region by train.

  • Large maps guide tourists around the Yawaku region. This particular one is shown here because (you guessed it!) it is depicted in Hanasaku Iroha. Compared to the real world location, the anime representation appears more similar to an HDR shot; high dynamic range photography remains one of the most vivid and brilliant types of photography out there, saturating the environment with colour and detail that would otherwise be missed in a regular image.

  • Readers have expressed surprise and disbelief that anime producers take this much time to ensure accuracy in their art. I appreciate the effort put in; rather than being unoriginal, I find this to be a suitable juxtaposition for anime set in fantasy worlds.

  • Yuina sits at this bench, drinking a Yawaku cider. Naturally, sales of said cider increases simply because it is shown in an anime. It’s a curious trend, but it’s been mentioned numerous times that anime-merchandise has almost always had a positive, however slight, effect on the local economy.

  • In Hanasaku Iroha, this is called the  Fukuya Inn. I have no idea what it is called in reality, but one thing’s for sure: the details are replicated virtually down to the brick.

Kanazawa sits on the Sea of Japan, bordered by the Japan Alps, Hakusan National Park and Noto Peninsula National Park. The city sits between the Sai and Asano rivers. There are several notable attractions in Kanazawa. Kenrokuen Garden is by far the most famous part of Kanazawa. Originally built as the outer garden of Kanazawa castle, it was opened to the public in 1875. It is considered one of the “three most beautiful gardens in Japan” and is filled with a variety of trees, ponds, waterfalls and flowers stretching over 25 acres. Outside Kenrokuen is Ishikawa-mon, the back gate (karamate-mon) to Kanazawa Castle. The original castle was largely destroyed by fire in 1888 but part of it has been partially restored as of 2001, with more to come. There are currently plans to re-create much of the original castle grounds, including some surrounding areas. Kanazawa also boasts numerous Edo period (1603–1867) former geisha houses in the Higashi Geisha District, across the Asano river (with its old stone bridge) out from central Kanazawa. Nearby is the Yougetsu Minshuku which sits at one end of one of the most photographed streets in Japan. This area retains, almost completely, the look and feel of pre-modern Japan, its two-story wooden facades plain and austere. The effect is accentuated by the early morning mist. Late at night, the street is lit by recreated Taisho-period streetlamps. Aside from the considerable number of historical attractions in the area, Kanazawa is also renowned for its traditional Kaga Cuisine. Seafood is a specialty, jumbo shrimp, followed by sushi and sashimi. The sake produced in this region is of high quality, smooth and sweet, derived from the rice grown in Ishikawa Prefecture as well as the considerable precipitation of the Hokuriku region, allowing for an ample supply of clean, fresh water. Omicho market is a market in the middle of the city, originally open-air, and now covered, which dates back to the Edo period. Most of the shops there sell seafood.

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