The 1000th Summer – An Air Anime Pilgrimage

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.
Kami Clouds

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.
Kasumi Station 1
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…
Kasumi Train
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.
Kasumi Station
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. ^^;
Coca Cola Building
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.
Kami Town 1
Kami Town 2
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.
Kasumi Beach 1
Air Beach
Kasumi Beach 2
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. ^^;
Kasumi Beach 3
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?
Kasumi Sea Wall
Sleeping Yukito
Air Sea Wall
Air Sea Wall 2
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.
Kasumi HighSchool
Air School
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.
Kasumi High School 2
Air School
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. ^^;;
Kasumi High School 3
This was the shot that was used in the visual novel. Also, you can see the bushes that Yukito hid Potato in. ^^
Kasumi Coast 1
Kasumi Coast 2
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.
Kasumi Coast Road
Air Anime Road
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. ^_^
Kasumi Coasts
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. ^^;
Sunflower
Animated Sunflower
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.
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.
Kasumi Rail Road 1
Kasumi Rail Road 2
Air Rail Road
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!
Second Seawall
Second Seawall 2
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. ^^;
Road 1
Air Road 1
Road 2
Anime Road 2
Road 3
Road 3
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…
Boats
Air Boats
Squid
After leaving the ships, I set off for the furthest reaches of Kasumi’s east side in search of the shrine.
Kasumi Shrine 1
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.
Kasumi Shrine 2
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. ^^;
Kasumi Shrine 3
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.
Kasumi Shrine 4
Kasumi Shrine 5
The Kasumi shrine does bare a bit of a resemblance to the anime version.
Kasumi Shrine 6
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?
Kasumi Coasts
Kasumi Coasts 2
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.
Observatory Enterance
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.
Observatory
Air Observatory
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. ^^;
Kasumi Air Map
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.

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23 comments on “The 1000th Summer – An Air Anime Pilgrimage

  1. Lien says:

    Wow great job, how interesting to learn about the real places that anime/manga get their inspiration from. Can you do Clannad next? XD

    • punynari says:

      I was thinking either K-ON or Please Teacher/Twins actually. Negima, Railgun/Index, and even….Touhou are also possibilities as well.
      I’m going to have duty the next two weeks though so that might hamper which ones I can do.

  2. Galamirix says:

    Very nice pics. Air was a great anime, first one to ever make me to shed a tear. I’m a new reader to your blog and I’m enjoying it. I’m heading to Japan very soon actually and I actually want to get my hands on a Dollfie Saber myself. If you don’t mind me asking, how much did it end up costing you and how hard is it to find her?

    • punynari says:

      Before the “Dollfie Dream boom”, Dollfie Dream Saber could be found in both Akihabara and Nakano stores for well over $1,000 American. Personally, I think I paid around 120,000 yen. ^^;;

      Now-a-days, Dollfie Dreams are popular and well known. As such, prices have risen and availability has decreased.
      I have not seen DD Saber in almost a year and a half. ^^;

  3. what a beautiful post *sniff* this takes me back to the times when I was a rabid fan of KEY, especially AIR (and I still now, I just didn’t watch much anime these days). Btw I found this page when I googled for AIR pilgrimage place for my friend who got scholarship to Japan, so your effort is not wasted ;)

  4. Xhiinen says:

    is this the peach juice you were talking about?
    http://tinypic.com/ab2x69.jpg

  5. Koji Oe says:

    This post made me smile. I went to Kasumi in spring 2009 during my study abroad. I found all the places you mentioned without any kind of guide. What map were you using btw?

    Do you have any idea where the bench/bus stop Yukito came off of is? I heard it’s some what far away from the town. I plan on going back in July and actually just spend the week there maybe laying on the beach or at a hotel. Depends how much it is. Haha.

    Feel free to check out all the photos I took. I’m sure you’ll remember a lot of the stuff.

    http://kojioe.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/kasumi-the-real-setting-for-air-over-300-photos/

    • punynari says:

      Wow! Loved your Kasumi photos, they brought back a lot of memories. Wish I took as many photos as you did but it sounded like you had a bit of trouble during your pilgrimage. Glad you are safe after wandering rural Japan in the dark! (:

      For the guide, I used this massive google map of anime pilgrimages in Japan (it also helped on almost every anime pilgrimage I’ve went on):
      Anime Pilgrimage Map
      Also, I think I had a ton of anime reference shots with me at the time.

      I’m going to add you to “My list of frequently checked blogs and friends”, if you don’t mind. Your blog is interesting. ^^

  6. motormind says:

    I can’t believe it! I finally went to Kasumi today! I sat on that sea wall, traced Mizusu’s footsteps at the beach, searched for puppets at the fishing harbor (kind of) and even trespassed someone’s property to take pictures of that observatory. I did make a lot of pictures anyway, I think about 700 or so (yes, I’m trigger happy).
    First impressions: the wall is still there, but it’s indeed very small. It’s way too thin to lie or walk on comfortably and when I sat down these little fly-like bugs crawled all over me. I don’t think there ever have been any stairs, since it’s unlikely they’d offer access to an unprotected high wall, seeing how keen the Japanese are on safety. Still, I could walk onto part of the wall pretty easily though from one side, but I didn’t dare to jump the gates, so I climbed on it from the road later.
    In reality the school is MUCH closer to the wall and the sea MUCH further away, about the opposite of what you see in the anime. The beach is also quite stony and filled with debris. I think they actually mixed the “sunset”-beach with the stony one near the school to make a new whole, so it would make for much more dramatic scenery. Curiously, there was this vending machine that made a good candidate for the one handing out Mizusu’s favorite drink, but it only offered the standard stuff.
    Since it was a Saturday the school was pretty quiet. I think I heard the fanfare club practicing, but even they went silent after a while, so I took the chance to take a lot of pictures.
    Well, that’s it for now. I’m pretty wired from the long train ride (back and forth from Kyoto), but I’m happy I made the trip. Kasumi was pretty and seeing the places from the anime was fun. Alas, I didn’t find the bus stop either.

    • punynari says:

      Congratulations! Not many anime fans take the trouble to venture all the way to Kasumi. The train ride alone is exhausting and the town is in the middle of nowhere.
      But, I think that makes Kasumi more special.

      And, you are now one of the few Air fans who have the bragging rights to say that you’ve been to Mizusu’s hometown! ^^

  7. Lourence says:

    Oh.. do you know also where is Kanna, Ryuuya and Uraha’s place too?? hehe just kidding… Nice pic!

  8. K33 says:

    Great pics. I stayed a few days in a little town called Aoyacho Nagawase on the other side of Tottori (actually not 100% sure if that’s the town’s name but it does bring it up on Google maps). It looked just like that. Cool to discover in retrospect how close I was to the setting of this great anime.

  9. Matt says:

    Wow! I watched Air about one September ago and I’m fascinated by your Air Summer Walk page. You really capture the romanticism of the anime in your photos. Makes me want to live there. Thank you for strengthening my bond with such a beautiful anime.

  10. Maceart says:

    AIR is probably my favorite anime. One thing you should have taken a picture of are any vending machines along the coast. That would have been pretty cool.

  11. Valen says:

    Great pics. Glad to see someone other than me has been to kasumi. Could not be dealing with the train though….. Long way from Osaka. Driving recommended.

    You found a couple of places I missed. Observatory being 1.

    Good post.

  12. Matt says:

    Just reading through again. I love to re visit this page :3

    Gonna watch the film version soon. Looking forward to it.

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