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Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato:Photo Trip Reports

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Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

Travel Reporter

Maureen Hoffmann (USA)
Katie Uhlrich (USA)
Kana Ishida (Japan)
Akitoshi Yoshida (Japan)

Date
Jul 2, 2011

Toyosato Elementary School is the setting for the popular anime “K-On!” Today, many fans visit Toyosato to pay tribute to their favorite show. The town has embraced this fame and has made Toyosato a hot-spot for K-on!-inspired products and fan art. We spent a Saturday exploring Toyosato and experiencing its K-On! connections.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Our day begins at the Omihachiman Omitetsudo station.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    The “S-S Free Kippu” ticket (available on weekends) allows unlimited travel for one day on Omitetsudo trains.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    We are all eager to start our day.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    After a pleasant ride on the train, we arrive at Toyosato Station.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    In front of the station, we are greeted a stone rabbit and turtle.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    A standard “tobidashi boy” warns drivers to beware of pedestrians.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    In Toyosato, the normal “tobidashi boy” has been replaced with characters from the anime, K-On!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Finally, we reach our destination: Toyosato Elementary School.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    This school was made possible by Tetsujiro Furukawa's donation.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    But Toyosato Elementary school was designed by William Vories, a well-known architect. He worked on a number of modern buildings in Japan. The school looks like a church because he was a Christian missionary.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    A key feature is a set of sculptures on the stairwell banisters, which tell the Aesop's fable about the Tortoise and the Hare.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    The tortoise steadily makes his way up the banister, representing hard work and perseverance.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Meanwhile, the rabbit is found to be napping at each landing.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    In the end, at the top of the stairs, the tortoise stands victorious!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    At the top of the stairwell, we find the music room, a reference to the famous anime, K-On!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    This room is a favorite to rest for anime fans.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    K-On! fans come every day to leave messages on the blackboard. These messages are photographed at the end of every day and put online for everyone to see.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    We happened to visit on the birthday of one of the anime characters!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    In the music room, K-On! fans gather regularly to play music together, like the characters in the anime.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    The musicians bring dolls and other goods of their favorite characters.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    We enjoyed listening to their music. It was really good!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Out in the hallway, we learned about the design of the school. While many doors in Japan slide, the doors at this school opened into the hallway. The yellow arcs were meant to protect students from being hit by opening doors.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    We also learned about the creative solution for air circulation: the windows to the classrooms open in different directions to promote the flow of air before air conditioning was invented.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Time to take another picture of the tortoise and hare on our way back downstairs – they were so cute!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Next it was on to the auditorium.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    People were already busy setting up for a concert that night.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Next, we headed out to explore the town.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    For lunch, we stopped at Tamaya Udon shop.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    The inside of this local restaurant had been decorated with donated fan-art from K-On! fans.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    We were served big, steaming bowls of udon.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    After walking around all day, we were hungry. It was delicious!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    On our way out, we got to meet the owner of the shop, an udon master. He was very excited to have us visit.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Outside the udon shop was another K-On! “tobidashi boy.” Different characters are scattered all over the town.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Some K-On! fans drive to Toyosato.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    This fan has decorated his car with images of his favorite K-On! characters.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Next we headed to a local bakery selling breads and sweets.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Even the bakery's vans were decorated with K-On! characters.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Inside the bakery, a large display of K-On! fangoods had been left by visiting fans.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Toyosato Elementary School's tortoise and hare make an appearance on the bakery's cookies.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    The bakery even has melon bread in the shape of tortoises. Aren't they cute?

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    We all ended up getting a melon bread tortoise.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    We even got a giant melon bread tortoise. The shop only makes three a day, so we were lucky!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Across the street was an Eneos gas station. But not just like any other Eneos gas station...

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    The gas pumps had anime typography.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Inside the shop, the walls were covered with K-On! posters.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    The owner chatted with us and we had a chance to look through the guest book. People have visited from all over the world!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    An entire bulletin board is filled with fan art and souvenirs donated by visiting fans.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Outside Eneos we were shown an electric car. It is used by government officials during the week, but rented out to K-On! fans to explore Toyosato on weekends. It even has its own K-On! magnets!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    We left Eneos and headed back to the center of town.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    This is "Nakasendo", which was a transportation hub in Toyosato. Today, it still retains its old atmosphere.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    We visited the home and birthplace of Itochube, a major Japanese trading company.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    The house had huge tatami rooms and a lovely garden.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Outside, we braved the sun again and returned to the school.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    People were arriving for the concert, including the owner of this K-On! fan car.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Inside the cafe, fans were holding a birthday party.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    We enjoyed a cool drink and relaxed after our long walk.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    We looked through a book of pictures from the anime, recognizing characters we'd seen throughout the town.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    There was a souvenir shop in the corner of the cafe. It had many K-On! items, such as t-shirts, bags, and towels.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Here, the tortoise and the hare decorate a towel.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    It's getting late and it's almost time for the concert!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    The fans are lining up to go into the music hall.

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    Heading into the concert!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    The hall is filled with fans!

  • Exploring the Anime World of K-On! in Toyosato

    What a beautiful day in Toyosato!

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