When Makoto Shinkai makes a film, you take notice of the visuals more than the story. The animator behind mega-hits like Your Name and Weathering with You produces arresting animation that sets him apart and makes him the best in the game. With his latest, Suzume, the theme revolves around the coexistence of human beings with what nature throws at us.
The movie is a coming-of-age story which follows our eponymous heroine and the male protagonist Souta on a journey across Japan to save the people of their country from a series of catastrophic events. Beginning on the island of Kyūshū in southern Japan, their mission takes them north to Ehime, Kobe, Tokyo and finally, Miyagi.
Fans take it upon themselves to scout for the real-life locations that specific scenes from his films have been inspired by. Here is a trail through five places across Japan that inspired Suzume.
This scene marks the start of all the action in the movie. On her way to school, Suzume encounters a good-looking young man who asks her for directions to the nearest abandoned place. She tells him to go over the mountains, which is where he finds the first supernatural door. This stand-alone door is in the middle of some ruins in an abandoned corner of the city.
The location looks similar to the Bungo Mori Roundhouse in Kusu, Ōita Prefecture. The Bungo Mori Roundhouse is known to be the only railway roundhouse left in Kyūshū, and is a registered Nationally Designated Tangible Cultural Asset.
Join the protagonists on a thrilling chase as they pursue Daijin, the talking cat, onto a ferry destined for Yawatahama Port. Located in the picturesque town of Yawatahama, Ehime prefecture, this bustling port serves as a vital link connecting the islands of Shikoku and Kyūshū. Suzume and Souta board the ferry together and plan their next move in the chase for Daijin.
Prepare to enter a world frozen in time as Suzume and Souta confront their next supernatural door within an abandoned theme park. The location of the third supernatural door bears a striking resemblance to the nostalgic Kobe Fruit and Flower Park, nestled in the vibrant city of Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture.
The motionless rides and dilapidated ferris wheel lights up as Suzume and Souta try to close the door and wrestle with Daijin at the same time. Visit the Kobe Fruit and Flower Park to get hit by a sense of nostalgia as you live your very own Suzume adventure.
As Suzume wanders around carrying Souta in the form of a chair, destiny leads her to a chance encounter with Chika. Suzume and Souta are waiting for a lift to take them to Ehime town when they see Chika approaching them on her scooter with crates of oranges tied at the back. This meeting takes place on a road that meanders alongside a tranquil pond, mirroring the serene beauty of Otani Pond. Discover the magic of this ethereal location nestled in Saijō, Ehime Prefecture.
The Hijiri-bashi Bridge, located in the bustling district of Chiyoda in Tokyo, and is believed to be the inspiration for one of the most intense scenes of the film. As the movie crescendos towards its climax, we see a desperate Suzume leaping off a bridge in an attempt to save Souta from falling. In the scene, we see Suzume's determination and unwavering courage as she runs with the singular goal of saving the person she loves. Visit this bridge on your next Tokyo trip, but of course, don't jump off it.