The fishing village of Kasumi (now known as Kami) is an extremely rural city set along beautiful coast lines along the Sea of Japan. The city is most known as being the setting of the popular Anime and Visual Novel known as “Air”. Air is my second favorite anime of all time and making the journey to the northern Japan coasts (not far from Tottori) has always been in my list of things to do. Making an anime pilgrimage to Kasumi is not easy though. There is very little information on the net about Kasumi and it is about 7 hours away from Yokosuka. ^^;
Hopefully, after this article, this journey will be quite a bit easier for Air fans. Please enjoy my journey to Misuzu’s hometown of Kasumi, Japan.
After setting off from my Kyoto hotel, I took the Sanin local line all the way to Kasumi. It took about 4 hours and involved transferring three times, but I made it in one piece.
At last, I had made it to Kasumi. I had actually been planning this trip to Mizusu’s hometown for over two years. Previously, there was just not enough information out there to invest the time to make it out to the Tottori area with most Air Anime Pilgrimages giving me a “not found” in my browser. Hopefully, with this article, lack of information will no longer be an issue…
Before setting off on my adventure, I joined the Japanese in taking photos of this old looking train that had made a brief stop. I’m no train Otaku, so I couldn’t tell you about it though.
Before I ventured to the coast, I tried to burn the appearance of Kasumi Station into my head. It turns out that Misuzu’s town was actually a lot larger then I had envisioned. It is quite possible to get lost trying to find this tiny building near the hills. ^^;
The area around the station had a lot of maps but, of course, they were all in Japanese. Luckily, I remembered to bring my homemade “tour guide book”, complete with maps and reference shots from the anime and game.
Of course, like any Air fan, the first place I set out to find was the sea wall and school. I had a vague idea about where it was but that was going off babelfish translations. In the end, it was actually in a different locations then the map I had.
After a short walk through town, I arrived at the coast. This is the same coast that Mizusu always wanted to play at with Yukito. Truly a dorky moment. ^^;
Had there been a sunset, this shot would have reminded me of a particularly sad scene at the end of the anime. ToT
After seeing the beach, I could head left or right. You see, Kasumi’s coast is in the shape of a horseshoe, with the beach in the center. I decided to head to the left first because it looked like that was where the school, seawall, and bus stop should be. Of course, I had no idea where these places were and was very much pulling a “Yukito”. The map I had was no where near detailed enough. I mean, there are three schools in Kami. Which school was the one that was used as a model for the one in Air?
There it was! The most famous scene of the Air anime. Misuzu first finds Yukito sleeping on this seawall that happens to be directly across from her school. It is here that their friendship starts.
It should be said that the stairs that Mizusu climbs to be on top of the sea wall look to have been removed. Instead, I had to use my arm strength to get on top of the seawall.
The school that had been used as a model in the Air anime is actually a real life high school. This is the shot that was seen in episode 2.
While taking these photos, a police car drove by. ^^;;;
Thankfully, nothing happened, but this school was still very much in session. Several high school kids were still doing studies and activities. Due to this, it looked incredibly creepy for a guy in his mid 20′s to be photographing a high school. ^^;;
This was the shot that was used in the visual novel. Also, you can see the bushes that Yukito hid Potato in. ^^
Heading further down the western part of the Kasumi coast, I came to some gorgeous coastlines. While, I don’t remember these rugged coasts being shown in Air, I felt it wouldn’t hurt including them in this article.
In the end, I did not find the bus stop that was shown in the beginning of episode 1, I did find the road that is shown in the opening song though. ^_^
At this point, the coast seemed to go on forever, so I decided to check out the eastern part of Kasumi’s shoreline. I still needed to find the shrine, as well as a few other places.
It should be said that even though this was the 1000th Summer, it was also the 1000 degree summer. ^^;
You can’t tell by the photos, but I was nearing heat exhaustion and developing a massive sunburn all for the sake of feeling closer to Misuzu and her story. ^^;
On the way back, I tried to get a photo of a Japanese crow (no luck). I did manage to get a Kasumi sunflower photo though. Mizusu is often shown in fields of sunflowers which are a popular summer flower in Kasumi.
One difference between the anime and real life is the layout of Kasumi. The anime has Kasumi on a slight hill with streets leading to the ocean in a straight line. Kasumi is actually on a flat piece of land so in order to see the ocean, you really need to be right up in front of it.
I managed to get a few pics of Kasumi’s railroad, which is shown in the opening song. These shots were taken by a busy road and an active rail road. Please be careful when taking these shots!
A short walk down the eastern side of the beach brought me to a fishing ship yard and another scenic seawall. At the time, I thought I would get yelled at for walking on it. ^^;
When Yukito lost his puppet, Misuzu helps him look for it by this road. The overgrowth kind of obscures some of the side of the road though…
After leaving the ships, I set off for the furthest reaches of Kasumi’s east side in search of the shrine.
To my surprise, I quickly ran into a large shrine on the top of the eastern hill. I had no information on this shrine on my maps, so this was a pleasant treat.
In the Air anime, the shrine is a very important setting for Kano’s story arc. The shrine is said to house a feather from the winged people of old times. It’s not a good idea to touch it though. ^^;
Some folks will tell you that the Air shrine is actually based off a Tokyo one. Maybe so, but because this shrine was actually in Kasumi, it make it a bit of a special place.
The Kasumi shrine does bare a bit of a resemblance to the anime version.
After visiting the Kasumi shrine, I had felt that I completed my Air anime pilgrimage. As I was about to leave though, I read on another map about an observatory at the top of the hill. Could it be THAT observatory?
As I climbed the mountain from the shrine, I ran into some seriously beautiful coasts. When you see these cliffs, you are almost to the observatory.
Soon, I came to this sign and a roped off area. This is what you should look for if you are going on the Air pilgrimage.
There it was! This observatory is shown in Air’s opening song and is associated with the character Minagi Tohno. Minagi is in the astronomy club and has always been fascinated with the stars.
Well, that concludes my 1000th summer. I didn’t find the girl in the sky, concentrated peach juice, or small dogs going “pico, pico”, but I did manage to find many of Air’s major landmarks (some unexpectedly). If you are a major Air fan, hopefully this article will help guide you on your own Air summer walk.
Also, to help guide you around Misuzu’s home town, I made a map. Hopefully, it’s more helpful then the one Misuzu makes in the show. ^^;
Guide to the crudely painted dots:
Red Dot: Observatory
Yellow Dot: Shrine
Orange Dot: Road/beach were they looked for missing puppet
Green Dot: School
Pink Dot: Sea Wall
Blue Dot: Road from Opening Credits
As for train instructions, I took a local Sanin line train (called Sagano Line for first part), from JR Kyoto station.
Kyoto – Sonobe (42 minutes)
Sonobe – Fukuchiyama (69 minutes)
Fukuchiyama – Toyooka (64 minutes)
Toyooka – Kasumi (43 minutes)
Of course, there are many ways to reach Kasumi but this is the path I took.