The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Nishinomiya, Hyogo: Home of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi

The events of Suzumiya Haruhi are set in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo, Japan. Situated between Amagasaki and Ashiya, Nishinomiya  has a population of around 488000 and is home to Furuno, an electronics company, as well as agriculture. Moreover, Nishinomiya is home to Kwansei Gakuin University is located; series author Nagaru Tanigawa is a graduate from this institute, and for this reason, Tanigawa selected Nishinomiya as the setting for Suzumiya Haruhi. The scenery is immediately recognisable to residents living in the area, and shortly after the series finished airing, fans flocked to the area to draw comparisons between the anime and real life. Some alterations were made in the anime. For instance, Kitaguchi Station in the anime is actually Hankyu Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi Station, the Kamigahara Pirates baseball team are based off the Uegahara Pirates of the Kwansei Gakuin University, and North High is situated where Nishinomiya Kita High School is located. Beyond these changes, done to accommodate the story, it becomes clear that no expense was spared into making locatrions appear faithful to their real-world counterparts: the similarities become clear upon inspection of the images below.

  • Nagato Yuki’s apartment is located near Hankyu Kouyou Line Kouyouen station, which is in Kouyouen-Honjou-cho, Nishinomiya-shi (Hyogo prefecture). As mentioned earlier, the station in the anime uses different kanji.

  • There is a small park outside of the Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi Station; this is where the SOS brigade convened during their weekend excusion for paranormal activity.

  • Shukugawa Park is where Mikuru explains her role as a time traveller to Kyon during the morning session of their first SOS-brigade outing. The park lines both banks of the Shukugawa river in Nishinomiya-shi (Hyogo prefecture) and is particuarly well-known its cherry blossoms in spring.

  • One of the side streets near the Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi station that Haruhi,  Koizumi and Mikuru travel down during the afternoon session of their weekend excursion.

  • The Nishinomiya-shi Central Library is located in Kawazoe-cho, Nishinomiya-shi, (Hyogo prefecture). Kyon brings Yuki here during the afternoon session to kill time, and is reprimanded by Haruhi in the most amusing way possible.

  • Haruhi discusses her past to Kyon at this railroad crossing, revealing that her desire to be unique stemmed from her realisation that she was but one in a faceless crowd during a baseball game her father took her to.

  • Koizumi brings Kyon to Osaka Station to demonstrate to the latter his capabilities and responsibilities as an esper. They stop in the middle of this crosswalk and prepare to enter closed space from here.

  • The Nankai ferry route facilitates travel between Wakayama-kou (Wakayama prefecture) and Tokushima-kou (Tokushima prefecture). One way trips require about 2 hours on average. The particular ferry depicted in the anime is named “Kumano”: this is the upper deck where Koizumi converses with Kyon.

  • The interior of the Kumano’s middle deck. The vending machines seen in the right side of the image are the same vending machines where Kyon purchases refreshments for everyone after he gets dominated in a card game.

  • The anime replicates the details on the ferry almost down to the pixel, although being anime, the main difference is that the real world settings feel distinctly gritter compared to the clean textures present in the anime.

  • Shukugawa Shopping Street is inspired by the Chuou Shopping Street and Sanwa Hondoori Shopping Street in Amagasaki-shi (Hyogo prefecture), just outside the Hanshin Amagasaki Rail Station. These two streets are designed such that they converge in a shape similar to a crossbow: Sanwa Hondoori Shopping Street forms the bow, while Chuou Shopping Street forms the arrow. The SOS-brigade come here to purchase supplies for their film, and also make a short commerical here for one of the camera shop owners as gratitude for assisting them.

  • Ginsui Bridge is located near Nishinomiya North High School (the real world equivalent of North High). The high school itself is found in Kurakuen-bancho, Nishinomiya-shi (Hyogo prefecture)and is roughly 2 km uphill from the nearest train station, Hankyu Kouyou Line Kouyouen Station.

Nagaru Tanigawa described his hometown of Nishinomiya in great detail within his novels, the setting of all of the events in Haruhi Suzumiya. These novels formed the basis for the anime: the animators at KyoAni merely needed to spend a few weekends designing the locations, given that Nishinomiya is only an hour from Kyoto by train.

20 responses to “Nishinomiya, Hyogo: Home of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi

  1. Jonas Jax January 10, 2013 at 14:20

    Perfect! KyoAni is unbelievable!

    Thaks for sharing! o/


  2. Phantomotaku September 16, 2013 at 17:08

    Great post. One of the things I loved about this series, and many other ‘slice of life’ anime are the realism of the environments where the stories take place.


  3. Matt91_ September 16, 2013 at 17:24

    Cool stuff, it was really interesting to see all those pictures side by side 🙂


  4. Mando Tellez January 4, 2014 at 09:36

    That’s awesome.I remembered seeing these places and their similarities on the Special features in Haruhi Suzumiya when some of the workers from the show took a tour to those exact places and took pictures and show how close it looked like from the show.Would like to visit those places someday,it would be awesome.


  5. Pingback: Insert town here. | neomo and anime.

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  7. Allen Fuqua November 19, 2014 at 17:22

    I’m a fan of your film location shots.


  8. Renaldo January 31, 2015 at 15:15

    Excellent blog you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find high quality writing like yurs these days.
    I seriokusly appreciate people like you! Take care!!


  9. Josephqturtoga March 19, 2015 at 14:07

    Hey guys the picture in all place that post on this site that pair to anime is real ?? But the character in real life is real too ?? Do you know that ?? Or you dont know it?? Well ?? i will tell you that the real haruhi suzumiya was live now in austria ?? I dont know where the place in austria ?? But only i know haruhi suzumiya lives there now ?? She was 17 years old now ?? And other character in haruhi suzumiya anime ?? Hmmm ?? I dont know where they are ?? But i will try to search them if i have a time ?? I have a many things to do! ?? Now ????? Guys if you ?? Have to ask me ?? Any-else ?? Please reply to this comment ????? And thank you ??? Very much and have a nice day


    • infinitezenith March 19, 2015 at 20:28

      The answer’s going to be a little lengthy, so bear with me:

      1. Those pictures are indeed real; this anime was inspired by the Nishinomiya region, and plenty of anime make use of real world locations to boost their immersiveness.
      2. The characters aren’t real: the anime or mangas, I can’t remember which one, state that all characters in Haruhi are fictional.
      3. Your claim is fairly surprising, but unless you can provide substantial evidence, I’m going to remain skeptical!
      4. Supposing that Haruhi herself is real, if she was 15 at the time of the series’ airing back during 2007, she’d be 23 now. If we go by her middle school age (estimated to be 12, based on the constant allusions to “three years ago”), then she’d be 20. So, age 17 isn’t particularly feasible using real world time.
      5. The other characters are also fictional, so as before, I’m quite skeptical of one’s odds of encountering people like that in reality. Perhaps I’ll win the lottery first?
      6. If you’re up for the search, it’s your time; I personally feel that’d be an interesting journey to Austria nonetheless. Bring back photos, please!
      7. I hope that satisfactorily answers your queries 🙂


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  11. Kirara3500 May 8, 2015 at 07:49

    I went to Cafe Dream recently and some fans seen at there. The station square of Nishinomiya-kitaguchi was quite changed and no longer had these monuments but the clock survivied fron scrap yard.


  12. yochan812 July 23, 2015 at 07:52

    Reblogged this on Blog của yo and commented:
    Đẹp ơi là đẹp ấy ❤


  13. Pingback: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in Real Life | WeeaboOtaku

  14. Jeffrey P. May 18, 2019 at 07:13

    One of weird anime that been leaving me a very weird feeling of uncertainty, uncertain whether I like or not, or where there’s to be like or not, the very strange story but cover in much more like a daily day to day anime, actually if any one ask me whether I go to this pilgrimage tour or I go to Tokyo, I prefer this, very much, thank you


    • MonkaS March 26, 2021 at 06:23

      It’s a mix of slice-of-life and fantasy. It’s mostly notorious for the non-chronological order of episodes (which is kinda annoying, since it doesn’t add anything) and the annoyingly cocky titular character with her tantrums.

      Do note that, if you do ever go on such a pilgrimage, it’s best to combine it with other activities in the area you’re visiting. I’ve done this twice, and the setting is usually taken from boring urban areas – just homes, public buildings and infrastructure. Not the most exiting way to spend a holiday.


  15. Pingback: A visit to Haruhi Suzumiya’s hometown, Nishinomiya – Ovelosphere

  16. infinitezenith October 17, 2021 at 17:24

    Author’s note: it’s been about nine years since I first wrote this post. Back then, I was still working out which image host was the most effective, leading some of the comparison images to disappear when one of the hosts went offline. Currently, this post only has about half of the comparison images as a result.


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