This article is about searching for real Your Name Locations. Is Itomori a real place or a fictional place? Where can it be? How most Japanese people view those locations?
This article will try to answer to those questions.
Your Name (kimi no na wa) Real Life Locations in Tokyo
Do you know, that the anime movie “Your Name” (kimi no na wa) has several real life locations in Tokyo area?
You can obviously see the following landmarks in Tokyo:
- JR Yotsuya station
- JR Shinjuku station
- Yamada-LABI building at Shinjuku station
That makes me wonder then if Itomori, where Mitsuha lives is also a real place.
In the anime “Your Name”, Mitsuha is from a small mountainous town in Gifu Prefecture.
Mitsuha, her family and her friends speak Gifu dialect, which is often characterized as the ending of a sentence be “Yayo”.
Notes: “Yayo” does not mean anything. It is just an ending, means “is” or ”isn’t it”. In Tokyo area, equivalent expression will be “Dayo”.
Mitsuha’s friends complain how small the town is. There are only 2 bars in the town, and convenience stores close at 9 pm while most are open around the clock in cities.
Thus the hint for searching the real life location is:
a very small town in Gifu area.
Search on Google Map
“Itomori” sounds like an ordinal Japanese name of a place or a family name, but surprisingly, there is no such a town called “Itomori (糸守)” （or even slightly misspelled like 糸森 or 糸盛) in Japan.
At least it can not be found in Google Map.
Apparently “Itomori (糸守)” is a fictional place.
However, there seems to be a couple of candidates, that has very similar appearance to Itomori in the anime, “Your Name”.
Your Name Locations: Hida
The director of the anime “Your Name”, Mr. Makoto Shinkai has already announced before the release of the movie, that the model town is in Hida (飛騨) region.
“Hida” is an old name of the mountainous region in the middle of the Japanese main land, where current Gifu prefecture and Nagano prefecture are.
Mr. Makoto Shinkai was born and raised in Nagano prefecture, therefore there is no wonder he wrote the story based on his background.
Probably, it is his attachment and nostalgia that makes the scenes in the movie so beautiful….
Lakes in Hida region
There are many lakes in Hida region. Big and small.
One of the biggest lakes in Nagano prefecture is the lake Suwa (諏訪湖) .
Many Japanese people find the Lake Suwa very similar to the fictional Lake Itomori.
While Lake Itomori has round shape made by the crash of Comet Tiamat about 1200 years ago, the lake Suwa actually is a tectonic lakes formed by earthquakes. Therefore, the shape of the lake Suwa is not round, rather rectangular.
However, please check out the next picture. Is if familiar to you? Is it similar to the one in the movie?
This is the view of lake Suwa from Tateishi park (立石公園).
The size of the lake, the way how the sun light reflects on the surface, and some pointy places in the middle…., yes, it is amazingly similar to the Lake Itomori, isn’t it.
That is why many Japanese people assume that the Lake Suwa is the model of the Lake Itomori, and many people make a visit as the holy ground of “Your name”.
It is known that Tateishi park is the best spot to view the landscape of the Lake Suwa.
Access to Tateishi park
Accordig to the map, the park is reachable from Kami-Suwa Station of Chuo-East Line (中央本線). The park is about 2,5 km up from the station and 45 minutes on foot.
Tweet by Mr. Makoto Shinkai
Although many Japanese people concluded that, the lake Suwa is the model of Itomori, the director Makoto Shinkai in fact tweeted on Oct. 18, 2016 saying:
Well, my original idea of the lake itomori is the lake Matsubara and the lake Otsuki near Koumimachi-Kogen Museum.
Of course, it is a fictional place, so each staff will have own source of the image.
ちなみに糸守湖の最初期のイメージは、僕にとっては小海高原美術館近くの松原湖や大月湖でした。とはいえ架空の場所なので、スタッフ毎に源泉は異なるだろうけど。— 新海誠 (@shinkaimakoto) October 18, 2016
Ok then, let us check out, the Lake Matsubara and the Lake Otsuki.
Your Name Locations: Lake Matsubara
The Lake Matsubara (松原湖) is much smaller and is located about 40 km south of the Lake Suwa.
The Lake Matsubara is a dammed lake emerged by a landslide during the earthquake called “Ninna Earthquake” (仁和地震), which took place in AC 887.
Interestingly, the Lake Matsubara is very close to the home town of the Director Makoto Shinkai. Only 8 km away!
He is known to be born in Koumi, Minamisaku District of Nagano prefecture, which is just around the corner of the lake Matsubara.
Thus, I am rather persuaded that the Lake Matsubara is the mother of the lake Itomori.
Your Name Locations: Lake Ostuki
Another candidate mentioned by the director Makoto Shinkai, is the Lake Ostuki.
This lake is very next to the lake Matsubara and much smaller.
The lake is currently owned by Chubu Electric Power Plant, and therefore even fishing is not allowed there….
Access to the Lake Matsubara
Unfortunately it is not easy to access to the Lake Matsubara and the Lake Otsuki.
The closest train station is the Matsubarako Station (松原湖駅) of Koumi Line (小海線). From the station to the lake, it will be about 2.1 km (20 min walk) of distance .
We’ve searched for real Your Name Locations and tried to provide an answer to the questions, such as:
- Is Itomori a real place or a fictional place?
- Where can it be?
- How most Japanese people view those locations?
- What creators of the movie said?
Followings are the answers:
- Yes, the lake Itomori is a fictional place.
- Many Japanese people see the Lake Suwa is the model of the lake Itomori.
- The director Makoto Shinkai says the original images are the lake Matsubara and the lake Otsuki.
- Due to the cooperation of several animation staffs, the original image of a small lake turned out to be a bigger and more famous lake like the lake Suwa.