The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Toyosato High School: Home of K-On!

Toyosato Elementary School was built in 1937 and was designed by William Merrell Vories. It is located in Toyosato station, a small rural Japanese town in the middle of nowhere with sweeping rice paddies, and very few services. The elementary school moved to a new building in 2004 and was originally to be demolished, but efforts were made to preserve it. The school was renovated in 2007, and in 2009, served as the inspiration for Sakuragaoka High School, which was featured in the anime K-On!

  • Curious fans looking to visit Toyosato Elementary are most likely to begin from the Tokyo region. Therefore, from Tokyo, Shinagawa, or Shin Yokohama, board the Shinkansen. At Maibara, transfer to the Ohmi Line and stick around until the Toyosato station. Trains typically come at hourly intervals, and as per typical transit regulations, proof of payment must be produced on request, so it is required that one carries their tickets with them.

  • Once Toyosato station is reached, make a right out the station, then a left, and the another right. Toyosato elementary school is a fair distance from the tracks. It is immediately apparent that the version of the school was modelled after the post-renovations school.

  • I’ve found that the anime version of a particular real world setting is cleaner in appearance than the original it was inspired by. This is hardly a surprise, given that most anime are about character and plot advancement rather than graphics. Naturally, a few exceptions exist.

  • This is a statue of  Furukawa Tetsujiro, a man who donated generously towards the construction of the school back in 1937. In the anime, his statue is adorned with a diverse range of decorations.

  • The stairwells are faithfully replicated right down to the turtle and rabbit ornaments.

  • Unlike some Canadian high schools (such as my old one), Toyosato elementary has a lot of windows, allowing natural light to fill the corridors. As a result, Japanese schools in general have a warmer, brighter feel to them.

  • Several classrooms were replicated after the popularity of K-On! put the old school back on the map. This bears testament to how the popularity of moe (whether appreciated or not) has the power to influence a diverse range of things.

  • This is the original music room that inspired the music room in K-On!. Its layout and furnishings have been reorganised to match the one found within the anime, right down to the instruments. Due to reasons of practicality, Ton-chan’s tank was omitted owing to the inherent difficulty in caring for a soft-shell turtle.

  • For the sharp-eyed, local fans have replicated almost every detail found within the anime, from the cakes and tableware to the signs that each of the characters hold in the opening sequence.

  • Within the school, the resemblances the anime shares with its real-world counterpart are impressive. In the actual school, both the rooms and hallways are decorated heavily with K-On! memorabilia, although some parts of the school were restored to reflect the environment found within the show. The school is rarely ever as quiet as seen in these photographs.

Regardless of what the fans themselves may be like, their tendencies have given Toyosato a small boost in revenue resulting from tourism. That said, fans wishing to visit Toyosato might be surprised to hear that the region is relatively remote: train stations do not have English signs, which are found at major train stations. Whether or not this remote Japanese town is worth visiting is totally the discretion of the reader: personally, I only recommend this type of trip if one has a lot of time to spend in Japan owing to the locale of Toyosato (rather than any other factor).

9 responses to “Toyosato High School: Home of K-On!

  1. Kirara3500 May 8, 2015 at 07:56

    I went there for dojinshi convention recently and it had about 1000 fans. It had verry imprresive memories. That is 5th time and held early May of each year.


  2. Nana Bakes April 4, 2017 at 09:09

    Hi!!!! I know it’s an old post, but which day and time did u go to have such a quiet school that day? Do u need permission to get inside to tour around? Some tips would be appreciated!! 🙂


    • infinitezenith April 4, 2017 at 09:40

      The photographs and experiences for all of the location posts I’ve got here were compiled by a friend who wanted to share his experiences and needed a host. With this in mind, I’ve gotten in touch with them and they’ve been very kind to provide some answers for your queries 🙂

      According to my friend, the photographs were taken around mid-morning on a Wednesday. The venue is open from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays, and 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM on weekends. It’s more busy on weekends, so visiting on a weekday is probably the best time to get photographs of the building.
      You are free to explore the building after signing in at the front desk, and there is no price for admissions.

      Hope this helps!


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  4. luiz117 January 14, 2018 at 19:29

    It´s a really great post, I’m a big fan, and I plan to travel next month, I’ll be staying at kioto for a couple of nights and I would love to go there, by any chance could you tell how to get there from kioto station. Or at least some tips to avoid getting in the wrong trains.
    Nice pictures!!!
    Thanks in advance.


    • infinitezenith January 14, 2018 at 22:54

      Now, I’m not sure how accurate my information is, so it’s always prudent to do your own research to ensure that the information you’re rolling with is correct. As far as I can tell, there are several ways to go from Kyoto to Toyosato: the most reliable is probably the Tokaido-Sanyo Line, which you can use to go from Kyoto Station to Hikone Station via the Tokaido-Sanyo Line. From here, you transfer to a smaller train that will take you to Toyosato Station. While the transit from Kyoto to Hikone has trains every twenty minutes, be aware that trains from Hikone to Toyosato come once every three hours. Use my suggestions only as a guideline to best fit your schedule, and plan accordingly to avoid getting lost: having a good set of train maps and GPS will be helpful. Happy travels!


  5. Jeffrey P. May 18, 2019 at 07:05

    Good suggestion at the end of the article, coz there are some people who likely to think when they a real life things from the anime they always compare it to whether or not it has a the same attractive feeling just like in the anime & whether the town offers more like Tokyo or any major famous city, but for some they just could understand & appreciate it for it’s own attractiveness than any other town, for me, this kind of tourism that I’ve been dreaming of, to visit, but not just visiting, spending a lot of time to enjoy everything and anything, leisurely wonder around the small town with no time dateline (at this time u need to be in here, at other time in there, and so on, ridiculously no pleasure at all).
    Thanks for the article


  6. jelabarre September 24, 2019 at 13:41

    There’s a good point. If I ever manage to visit Japan, I’m less interested in seeing Tokyo as I am in the smaller cities and towns. Toyosato looks to have some other museums in the area as well, some interesting shrines, etc. And if I’m interested in seeing some of the lesser-traveled ones, there would be the place to go.


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