Thanks to popular anime, Lucky Star (Raki☆Suta), all of Japan has become familiar with the city of Washinomiya in Saitama prefecture. The Washinomiya Shrine in particular has become famous among fans because of its appearance in the opening credits of the anime. As a result, every year since 2007, Washinomiya Shrine has been invaded by hoards of otaku looking to ring in the new year; 2012 being a particularly busy year with 470,000 Lucky Star fans visiting the shrine. Cities associated with popular anime often see an influx of visitors looking to take pictures and recreate scenes from their favorite anime, especially those that have been featured in magazines highlighting popular anime and manga locales, like Washinomiya Shrine.
Recently, a different kind of otaku gathering took place in Washinomiya. Named “Crush Fest in Washinomiya 2012,” this event is arguably the most “painful” otaku athletic meet in all of Japan. At the same time, a “painful” car festival took place, bringing in anime otaku from far and wide.