Kyoto K-ON Anime Pilgrimage

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.
Animated Kyoto Sign

Upon arriving in Kyoto via the Shinkansen “Bullet Train”, Yui steps out of Kyoto station and points out the landmark “Kyoto Tower”.
Kyoto Tower
Animated Kyoto Tower
Yui thinks Kyoto Tower looks like a radish. ^^;
That’s just like her. That’s why we love her. ^^;;
Animate Kinkakuji
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?
Animate Torii
Torii 1
Torii 2
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.
Animated Black Cow
Black Cow
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.
Cow Animated 1
Cow Animated 2
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.
Animated Cow Petting
Just make sure you don’t over-pet the cows. That just might have the opposite effect. ^^;
Cow 1
Cow 2
A few of the coolest looking cows didn’t quite make it to the episode….
Entrance Animated
As usual, Kyoto Animation is quite accurate in portraying real life Japanese locations in anime. I recognized this gate immediately from the episode.
Main Prayer Hall Animated
Main Prayer Hall
And the main prayer hall is present as well. If I had the reference shots, I could have produced the shot exactly. ^^;
Leaving Shrine
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.
Monkey Park Animated
Monkey Park Animated 2
Monkey Park Sign
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. ^^;
Monkeys in Kyoto Animated
Kyoto Bridge Animated
Kyoto Bridge 1
Kyoto Bridge 2
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. ^^;
Monkeys on Trail
Monkeys on Trail 2
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. ^^;
Baby Monkey
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.
Top 1
Top 2
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. ^_^
View Animated
View 1
View 2
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!
Monkey Feeding Animated
Also, I’ll make sure to feed the monkeys the next time I go. ^^
Monkey Feeding 2 Animated
Feeding Monkeys
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.

Kitano Tenman-gu wikipedia
Iwatayama Monkey Park wikipedia
Arashiyama wikipedia
Episode 4 of the Second Season of K-ON

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.

For more K-ON! anime pilgrimages, please check out part 1 and part 2 of my trip to the K-ON! school.

10 comments on “Kyoto K-ON Anime Pilgrimage

  1. laniemon says:

    Awesome article. Good job on finding those place in anime in real life. Now that what I call dedication ^^. Make me want to rewatch that K-On episode.

    • punynari says:

      Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it! :D

      This is one of my better articles I think. A few of the pictures could have been better though but there’s no helping the weather. ^^;

  2. oOgA says:

    very nice post! didnt know the cows look so awesome ;D

  3. LolWut12 says:

    This is awesome!

  4. JazonX says:

    Gambarimashou! ^^

  5. cherryboom says:

    this was when the club went visiting kyoto but where is the anime set?? do you know where is their school?? thank you :) really nice article

  6. motormind says:

    I’m in Kyoto as I write this, and I am actually staying in the Hanazono Kaikan, which is the hotel the girls stay in for their class trip. It is associated with the Zen-Buddhist temple and high school and is VERY Japanese indeed.
    I am on the second floor, has a few single and double bed rooms, but the rest of the hotel is dedicated to Japanese style bedrooms for larger groups. The place is filled with (junior) high school students who on their class trip to Kyoto, just like the girls from K-On. Because of that it tends to be a bit noisy, especially during breakfast and when they go to bed–which doesn’t mean they go to sleep right away :) I also have seen several big groups of students sitting on the floor in the lobby and walked by big dining rooms. I didn’t see any Japanese-style dining rooms though, as in the anime, where they sit on the floor.
    I actually sneaked around the upper floors during lunch and discovered that the Japanese style guestrooms are depicted rather accurately in the anime. I almost expected some pillows to fly my way. I didn’t snoop around too much, since I am afraid of the punishment those Buddhist monks might inflict on me if they catch me :)
    All in all, it’s a rather special experience that I, as a K-On fan, am now sleeping in the “K-On Hotel”. They also seem to be aware of the fact they’re depicted in an anime and proud of it, since I have seen some K-On stuff around the hotel. Fun!

  7. motormind says:

    By the way: I have bene to Arashiyama as well and fed those monkeys. Man, are they noisy little critters or what. They’re almost like Japanese high school students ;)

  8. Yokora says:

    I was fortunate enough to visit the monkey park and one of the shrines during my study abroad trip to Japan. I love how KyoAni uses real locations as inspiration. It made me feel all giddy to see something in real life that I recognized from an anime.

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