The Best Anime With Real-World Locations | TheReviewGeek Recommends

The expansive anime universe offers many tales with compelling characters, engaging plots, and epic moments. While some anime come and go, many deliver outstanding and memorable experiences. Those types of anime typically contain well-written storylines, characters, and events that will excite people more.

For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, we’d like to highlight the best anime with real-world locations. From mysterious villages to amusing music-themed shows, you’ll be surprised by the number of incredible shows that have environments you can visit in the world today.

Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll add them when we can!

10 TV Shows & Anime Like Higurashi When They Cry_Feature Image

Higurashi: When They Cry: Shirakawa-go

Higurashi: When They Cry is a well-known horror gem that combines elements of horror, mystery, and psychological thriller set in the fictional village of Hinamizawa. However, some hardcore fans of the series know that Hinamizawa is actually based on a real location in Japan called Shirakawa-go. Nonetheless, Higurashi delivers an eerie and beautiful depiction of this environment to please its residents. 

With its lush green fields and traditional houses, Studio Deen did their best to capture the Shirakawa-go’s aesthetic well. As for the anime’s story, it captures the depths of its characters and delves into the psychological aspects of their actions and motives. With themes like paranoia insanity, and trust, Higurashi delivers a stellar narrative that’s backed up by its rich iteration of Shirakawa-go.

This is a must-watch anime for its twists, characters, and horrific atmosphere alone. 

Bocchi The Rock: Shimokitazawa 

Bocchi The Rock was a fabulous music-themed comedy with a relatable protagonist, endearing narrative, and stunning visuals. Many of the locations Bocchi and her friends traversed through in anime were based on locations found in Shimokitazawa. From the Starry Club to the place Bocchi and her friends did their pro-photo shooting, you can visit these locations today to recreate the experience. 

Ironically, Shimokitazawa is known for having a rich history with rock, making it a great location for the series’s creator Aki Hamaji to use as the setting for Bocchi’s endeavors in Bocchi the Rock. As for the anime itself, it delves into intricate details about the music industry from multiple perspectives. At the same time, it provides viewers with excellent commentary concerning mental health. 

Bocchi suffers from severe social anxiety, making her resonate with others who are undergoing a similar problem. As Bocchi learns to overcome her insecurities and health issues, she’ll become a more talented and courageous performer.

This is a must-watch for anyone who loves comedies, music, and relatable characters. 

You can read our thoughts on Bocchi The Rock in our full-season review here!

Clannad: Hamura and Mizuho

Bungo Stray Dogs: Yokohama

Bungo Stray Dogs may offer a highly supernatural aesthetic, but it’s another series that follows the trend of setting its story in a familiar environment. It takes place in Yokohama, Japan, and does its best to draw inspiration from this city’s surroundings. By using Yokohama as a backdrop, the anime finds a way to resonate with viewers on a realistic and immersive level. 

Furthermore, Yokohama helps the characters’ fantastical abilities stand out more. Fans will adore seeing characters engage in physical confrontations, whether they’re fighting in closed environments on Yokohama’s streets.

On top of exploring Yokohama’s culture and historical aspects, fans will find this narrative’s mix of fantasy and realism entertaining from beginning to end. 

Laid-back Camp: Yamanashi Prefecture and Shizuoka Prefecture

Laid-back Camp is a cozy, slice-of-life anime about camping and friendship. This series takes place in many locations across Japan, most prominently Japan’s Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures. This adds a layer of charm and realism to its tale, as it’ll make viewers wish they were camping alongside our show’s characters.

For instance, Laid-back Camp successfully captures these regions’ beauty. From its peaceful forests to its serene lakes, viewers will appreciate Studio C-Station’s level of craftsmanship with this anime. On top of looking pretty to the human eye, the anime’s depiction of nature will give the audience reasons to adore nature and its offerings.

In addition to giving viewers some stellar camping tips, Laid-back Camp is a simple yet relaxing anime to watch for those who need to unwind after a hard day’s work.

Your Name: Hida, Gifu Japan

Your Name is a stunning anime that brings its real-world locales to life. It takes place in the marvelous countryside of Hida, a region in central Japan. One of its best strengths lies in its ability to showcase this area’s rural landscapes. The lush greenery, tranquil lakes, and majestic mountains depicted in the anime are beautifully crafted. It allows outsiders to get a general idea of what these locales feel like. 

While Mitsuha, our female protagonist in Your Name, lives in a fictional town called Itomori, it’s based heavily on the real-life town of Hida Furukawa. Makoto Shinkai and his team did their best to capture the town’s historic streets, traditional wooden houses, and other landmarks found in this region. This helps ground the story in reality, helping people foster a deep connection with the story.

Give Your Name a watch if you happen to love dramas with supernatural spins.

Jujutsu Kaisen: Harajuku

Jujustu Kaisen is a new and popular shonen anime. It’s known for delivering well-animated fights, having a complex power system, and a cast of characters who are intricate and entertaining to watch. Jujutsu Kaisen has our cast exploring several locations over time and one of them happens to be based on a real-life environment.

While the anime’s set in Tokyo, some natives will recognize Studio Mappa’s incredible work at capturing Shibuya’s Harajuku Station. This area houses is where Jujutsu Kaisen’s protagonists Yuuji and Megumi meet their female teammate Nobara before their first official mission in Jujutsu Kaisen season one. The anime perfectly captures the area’s shops and fashion well.

If you love Tokyo and are after a fantastic action-packed anime that makes great use of it as its setting, check out Jujutsu Kaisen.  

Demon Slayer: Asakusa

Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba) is a widely popular shonen anime about demons and samurai. This anime combines supernatural elements with a real-world setting, resulting in an immersive and emotionally impactful viewing experience.

The story takes place in Japan’s Taisho era, and its realistic setting plays a part in enhancing the narrative’s quality. One notable area is Asakusa, a notable district in Tokyo. Studio Ufotable managed to capture this area’s likeness through its depiction of well-known places in this area. From the Sensoji Temple to the Hozomon Gate, fans will be bewildered by Ufotable’s level of research, polish, and detail that went into recapturing Asakusa’s soul. 

Furthermore, Asakusa holds significance in the story’s plot. It’s known for being the area that houses our protagonist Tanjiro’s first encounter with the menacing Muzan.

Tokyo Ghoul: Shinjuku City, Japan

Tokyo Ghoul is a fabulous action and horror series that took the world by storm. It follows a college student named Kaneki, who goes on a date and ends up in the hospital the following day. He learns he’s become half-human, half-ghoul hybrid and must find a way to get used to his new lifestyle.

Although Tokyo Ghoul features many prominent locales in Tokyo, its portrayal of Shinjuku City is incredible. The series’s creator, Sui Ishida, perfectly captures the city’s vibe and aesthetic. From its crowded streets to its neon lights, you’ll feel like you’re traversing the city’s streets alongside Kaneki and his allies. Further, the fights that take place within this locale between the ghouls and special forces are thrilling to watch.

If you’re looking for a series with enough scares and epic moments to keep you entertained, check out Tokyo Ghoul.

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: Chichibu City, Saitama

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is a saddening work about friendship and mourning. Our story follows Jinta as he must reunite with his old friend group to help his deceased friend Menma’s spirit transcend to the afterlife.

Unlike most on this list, the anime’s set is in its real-world location and not based on it. The location in question is Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. This location plays an important role in the narrative, serving as a backdrop that enhances the themes of friendship, loss, and healing.

The anime expertly utilizes Chichibu to ground the story, making events feel more grounded and heartfelt for viewers. Chichibu’s natural elements, from its mountains to flowers, symbolize this anime’s cast’s growth and emotions well. It helps the anime shroud its audience in a tranquil atmosphere. This allows viewers to connect with the characters’ journey of healing and reconciliation.

On top of providing viewers with a sense of community and nostalgia, Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is an excellent anime that brilliantly uses its setting to the fullest degree. 

So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime with real-world locations through the years!

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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