Have you ever noticed the apple theme in Flying Witch? Apples are ubiquitous in the show, they can be found in almost every episode of the anime, and there is of course a reason for this.
But first, last week’s article focused on the various locations shown in the first episode of Flying Witch, and its real world counterparts. As mentioned before, the studio J.C. Staff is doing an amazing job in portraying the region around Hirosaki, making all the locations feel really authentic and unique. Since all the spring season anime are soon coming to a close, this article will be quite a bit longer, and will focus on episodes two, three, and four of the show. In the beginning of the second episode, we see the harbinger of spring flying from location to location, in order to… well, bring about spring.
*All photos were taken with Google Street View.
The two pictures show Ringo Park – and we are already back to apples. Ringo is the Japanese word for apple. The area around Hirosaki and Aomori prefecture in general is one of Japans largest apple producers, and accounts for a huge percentage of the total apple production of the country. Hirosaki also calls itself “an apple-colored town”. Since apples play such an important role for the region, it only makes sense that there would be an Apple Park, Apple Road, etc. Chinatsu’s and Kei’s father even owns an apple orchard, or at least works on one.
The harbinger of spring makes a quick stop at the Iwakiyama Shrine – bringing more spring of course. The shrine is located at the foot of Mount Iwaki, a volcano, which can be seen a couple of times in the show. The Shinto shrine has a long history, as it is roughly 1200 years old, and it houses a couple of gods and spirits.
Hirosaki Castle is the most famous landmark of Hirosaki city, but more on the castle and the beautiful castle park a little further down.
This little street is located at the foot of the Saisho-in Monastery, a five-storied pagoda in Hirosaki. The pagoda itself was not yet shown in the anime, but maybe there is still time for it to happen.
Makoto still seems a little lost on her way to school, however, the attention to detail put in these random houses and streets is fascinating.
Makoto’s little daydream in class brings her back to Yokohama, the town she lived in before she moved to Aomori. She finds herself on one of the benches in Yamashita Park, which was constructed after the Great Kanto Earthquake, and is located along the city’s waterfront. J.C. Staff even included the Hikawa Maru (today NYK Hikawamaru), an old Japanese ocean liner, which today functions as a museum.
Do not deep-fry random flowers/vegetables you find on the side of the road – that is probably not safe.
Mount Iwaki is an active stratovolcano, located in the west of Aomori Prefecture. The mountain has three peaks – the highest being 1625m tall. The volcano is still considered active today; however, the last known eruption occurred in 1863. Naturally, a lot of hot springs can be found around the foot of the mountain. Due to its shape being quite similar to Mount Fuji, Mount Iwaki is often referred to as Tsugaru Fuji.
This little shrine shown in episode three is only the backside of the shrine seen in the opening of Flying Witch.
The square, which can be seen in the background of the picture, is the Otemon Square – the modern building serves as a Tourist Information Center for the city.
Makoto, Kei and Chinatsu are doing some sightseeing in episode four – checking out Hirosaki Castle and the Cherry Blossom Festival. The castle (formerly also known as Takaoka Castle) was built in 1611 in the center of the city, by the Tsugaru Clan. The Tsugaru Clan was a samurai clan, which ruled the region at the time. Hirosaki Castle’s main keep, which can be seen in the picture, was originally five stories tall. The keep, however, partially burned down in 1627, after it was struck by lightning. Due to laws prohibiting the construction of five-story keeps, it was later re-built with only three stories in 1810. Today it is a National Important Cultural Property. The park serves as a location for many festivals throughout the year, including the famous cherry blossom festival. Roughly 2600 cherry blossom trees are planted in Hirosaki Park – creating the beautiful scenery in both the anime and real life!
Drinking with Akane seems like a ton of fun – waking up as a human-dog hybrid does not.
And that’s it for this week’s installment of Anime vs. Real Life! For next week, would you prefer more of Flying Witch, or would you like something different? So what do you think, does the anime come close to its real world counterparts?