If you’re an anime fan planning to make a pilgrimage to the real-life inspiration for Your Name’s location, your bus has arrived.
In addition to splitting its screen time between two main characters, director Makoto Shinkai’s anime film Your Name’s scenes bounce back and forth between two settings. Roughly half of the movie takes place in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood, while the other half occurs in Gifu Prefecture’s picturesque town of Hida.
Thanks to Your Name’s astounding success, several moviegoers walked out of the theater with a desire to see Hida for themselves. Billions of yen have been flowing into Hida City’s hotels and other travel service providers since Shinkai’s anime was released, and now travelers don’t even have to wait until they arrive to start soaking in the Your Name atmosphere.
Gifu-based Nohi Bus operates long-distance highway buses that carry passengers between Tokyo and Hida. Starting this month, one of its busses will be wrapped in Your Name imagery featuring protagonists Taki and Mitsuha, as well as some of Shinkai’s signature environmental artwork.
The endpoints of the route are Gifu’s Hida Furukawa Station and, appropriately, the Busta Shinjuku bus terminal in Tokyo. The bus will run the route in both directions, so that both city-dwellers looking for a taste of country life and rural residents looking to spend some time in the capital can make use of it.
The Your Name bus goes into service on February 27, and is scheduled to run until the end of March, 2018. The one-way trip from Hida to Shinjuku takes six hours, but with prices starting at 6,900 yen (US$59), it’s much more affordable than many other rail or air travel options. Plus, given the graphics the bus is sporting, you’re likely to be able to pass the time chatting about anime with fellow fans.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where overnight bus remains his favorite way to travel around Japan.