The town of Itamori, which provides a lot of the backdrop for scenes in the smash hit anime film "your name." is a totally fictional place. But as with many fantasy anime, the sleepy village in "your name." pulls a lot of inspiration from real-life locations.
One of those real-life locations is the city of Hida in Gifu Prefecture, and it seems the town has been gifted with an unexpected windfall to the tune of 18.5 billion yen thanks to some shrewd marketing and the film’s ravenously committed Japanese fanbase.
The trailer for the film has inspired everything from umbrellas to cakes to group dating events.
Hida City, in light of the film’s success, recently began offering “your name. pilgrimage tours” to capitalize on its newfound reputation, and fans have been showing up in droves to mill around town and snap photos of the iconic locations that inspired settings in the film. One of those venues is the Hida City Library, which due to a policy of largely allowing photos of the interior, has become a sort of holy grail for fans.
The library has fully embraced the "your name." pilgrims, giving them slips of paper with the hashtag “I came to the Hida City Library” on it and even starting a board where people post how far they came to visit.
A limited run of 3,000 containers of “Kuchikamizake,” a type of blessed sake brewed by the area’s renowned Watanabe Shouzou-ten, also sold out almost immediately, netting the local economy even more cash. The traditional form of "kuchikamizake" is made by chewing rice, spitting it back out and letting it ferment, and plays a role in the film’s plot. That may sound kind of gross, but don’t worry: Selling spit-fermented rice wine is (hopefully) no longer legal in Japan, and Watanabe’s sake is actually just a limited special sake brew that comes in a decorative bottle.
If you’re a super fan but don’t want to go all the way to Hida to go on a "your name." pilgrimage, then check out the tours available in Tokyo so you can see other locations that inspired scenes in the film. No word yet on how much "your name." has boosted Tokyo’s tourism revenue, but we have a feeling they’re doing just fine.
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