In episode 4 of the second season of K-ON, the girls take a school trip to Kyoto and visit some unusual places. This episode continues to be my favorite of the series so far because it struck home with me. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I travel A LOT and that I will try to visit real life places in Japan that I see in my favorite animes. By visiting the actual location, I feel closer to the characters because I now have a shared experience with them. Please enjoy my search for the K-ON locations that our favorite tea drinking music club visited on their trip to Kyoto.
Upon arriving in Kyoto via the Shinkansen “Bullet Train”, Yui steps out of Kyoto station and points out the landmark “Kyoto Tower”.
Yui thinks Kyoto Tower looks like a radish. ^^;
That’s just like her. That’s why we love her. ^^;;
The first place the K-ON club visits is the Golden Pavilion. Today, I didn’t visit it due to having already photographed it earlier during much better weather conditions. It’s beautiful isn’t?
The second place the K-ON girls visit is Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine. An ancient shrine that was originally built in 947 to appease the poet and scholar Sugawara no Michizane. After Michizane’s death, he became the shrines deity. Many school kids (and college folks) will pay the shrine a visit before taking a major exam because of the fact that the kami was also scholar.
When I went on this anime pilgrimage, I had no references shots. So, to compensate for that, I took a ton of pictures of just about everything. When I finally sat down and re-watched the episode, I had a lot of fun seeing what they chose to animate.
As you wander Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine, you will notice the abundance of cow statues and folks rushing to pet them. It is said that by petting these cows, you will become more scholarly due to the nature of the shrine.
Just make sure you don’t over-pet the cows. That just might have the opposite effect. ^^;
A few of the coolest looking cows didn’t quite make it to the episode….
As usual, Kyoto Animation is quite accurate in portraying real life Japanese locations in anime. I recognized this gate immediately from the episode.
And the main prayer hall is present as well. If I had the reference shots, I could have produced the shot exactly. ^^;
After rubbing a few cows, I left Kitano Tenmangu and set of for Arashiyama which is where the K-ON girls would head the following day.
Yes, monkeys. ^^;
Arashiyama is home to the Iwatayama Monkey Park which has visits from over 170 wild Japanese monkeys. While that is kind of neat, most folks go to Kyoto to view the temples and shrines. ^^;
On the way to check out the cute Japanese monkeys (^^;), the K-ON girls run across Arashiyama’s famous “Moon Crossing Bridge”.
Unfortunately the weather was not that good during this photo walk. It is approaching the rainy season in Japan so the weather is especially unpredictable. I’ll try and visit Arashiyama during the fall, if I can. Also, I’ll try and see more then just the monkeys. ^^;
To my surprise, there were actually monkeys in monkey park. It is not a zoo, so it’s up to the wild Japanese monkeys if they want to visit it.
They are actually not afraid of people and I walked by them with no problems. Even so, a staff member came after I walked by and scared them off. Apparently, some folks are scared to walk down the path if the monkeys are about. ^^;
If you are especially lucky, you can see baby monkeys. This mother was quite protective of her child and would turn around if you pointed a camera at her. Needless to say, the shot was difficult. I had to be quick.
At the top of the monkey park, there is a breathtaking view as well as a feeding area for the monkeys. They have to have an incentive to come to the park after all. ^_^
Even though the weather was cloudy, the view was one of the best I have ever seen in Japan. No, actually, this was the best view I have ever seen in Japan. You could see ALL of Kyoto at once.
If I am in Kyoto again during sunny weather, I will make it a top priority to visit this viewpoint again. It was amazing!
Also, I’ll make sure to feed the monkeys the next time I go. ^^
It is against the rules to feed the monkeys outside of set areas. I imagine it’s to keep them from associating areas outside of the top of the hill with food.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my little K-ON anime pilgrimage article as much as I enjoyed making it. Time is winding down for me. I have around six months left in Japan and some of it is underway. I’m trying to see everything I can, while I can. As always, I will share my experiences as I have them. Thank you for following along.
I relied on taxis and buses to get me to these locations (for the most part). Kyoto is like that. It’s extremely spaced out and many times it’s bus system is more efficient then it’s train system.