Your Name "pilgrimage"

Travel time: 17 minutes - Stations: Roppongi JR, Shinjuku JR
Trail time: 4,5 hours - Effort: high

East Tokyo through the eyes of an artist

The beloved animated movie "Your Name" has many scenes and events based in East Tokyo, which are not only set in real locations, but make complete sense geographically.

Depending on your level of cynicism, you can see this as an additional layer to Makoto Shinkai's story or -at least- as a curated list of interesting spots around Yotsuya

Note: the downloadable GPX file includes captions for all points of interest, not shown in the preview above

+ The good

  • The road leading to Suga Shrine is supremely enjoyable, with a calm road snaking between hills and multiple lovely shrines. Even if you are tweaking the itinerary (see below) I would recommend not to do it in reverse, in order to maintain the same path of the movie (recreated pretty much step by step) and its visual crescendo
  • Not far from Suga Shrine there's "丼丸 信濃町店" a cute little sashimi donburi shop that can provide a nice lunch for just 500 JPY
  • The National Art Center is quite charming and worth visiting on its own in order to enjoy its exhibitions (and cafes)
  • Shinjuku Gyoen is always a nice break from the city bustle (and can act as a sub-tour for "The Garden of Words")

~ The bad

  • Aoyama cemetery offers a peaceful stroll and a surreal contrast between the rows of tombstones and the skyscrapers surrounding them. Still, it's not the most romantic of locations
  • The area around the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery offers a lovely treed boulevard and a nice insight into the life of the neighborhood (open air cafés, baseball stadiums, kid parks) but is more pleasant filler than else
  • Similarly, Yotsuya station hasn't much to offer besides reminding you a couple scenes from the movie and putting you on the right direction for Soga shrine

- The ugly

  • The stretch between Meiji Jingu and Yotsuya is a slog since you are stuck between the road and the imperial gardens of Akasaka (which are probably amazing, but the Emperor doesn't take visitors)
  • The stretch through Kabukicho may be of some interest only for tourists, at least during the daytime. Similarly, many might scoff at the 1800 JPY entrance cost for the panoramic platform in Roppongi Hills (no matter how nice the view may be)
  • Forget about having the famous staircase for yourself. Depending on the time, you might be standing next to 2/3 other nerds, similarly intent in snapping the exact same view as the poster
  • The road offers little cover and shelter. If you are making this walk in the scorching heat of summer or the freezing cold of winter, do take the train shortcuts mentioned in the original post below