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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a manga and anime adaptation of a “light novel” (an easy-to-read style of Japanese novel primarily targeting young adults, often with anime-style illustration). It enjoys great popularity in Japan and many other countries. The story is set around Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture. Many fans at home and abroad are visiting the city, especially after the summer of 2006 when the anime was aired. The cosplayers (costume players) of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya characters have become a very familiar scene of Nishinomiya City.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is mainly set in various places in Kansai region including Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture. Many locales are found especially around the stations of Hankyu Railway. Explore the area with a map in your hand as the locales are scattered around.

In the story, the characters form the SOS Brigade and participate in several activities. The SOS Brigade’s meeting point is located at around Hankyu Nishinomiya Kita-guchi Station (Kobe Main Line, Imazu Line). The spots appeared in the anime adaptation of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya such as a shopping street in front of Nishinomiya Kita-guchi Station, a park and a coffee shop are found around. In the area between Hankyu Nishinomiya Kita-guchi and Koyoen Stations (Koyo Line), you can find the baseball field that appeared in the story, the pond (Shin-ike) which was the location for “The Adventure of Mikuru Asahina” and the road that characters use to go to school.
In addition, many settings for the story are scattered in the area between Hankyu Koyoen and Kurakuen-guchi Stations (Koyo Line). In the story, Koyoen Station was written “光陽園駅” whereas the actual one is 甲陽園駅. The characters are “Kita High School” (Kita-Kou) students and the high school in real life is Hyogo Prefectural Nishinomiya Kita High School. Ascending from Koyoen Station, there is the school on a higher ground. Shukugawa Park (Shukugawa-koen) is located at near Shukugawa Station (Koyo Line, Kobe Main Line) next to Kurakuen-guchi Station. Many spots appeared in the anime such as a row of cherry trees and the stream are found everywhere in this park. The appearance and the inside of the library in the anime looks exactly like those of the Nishinomiya Central City Library which is about a 7-minute walk south of Shukugawa Station.
The outdoor stage in Kabutoyama Forest Park (Kabutoyama Shinrin-koen) where Yuki Nagato and Mikuru Asahina, two SOS Brigade members, battled for the first time is well-known among the fans. The park is a 25-minute walk from Koyoen Station. It is big and can hold 1,000 audiences. Various events are held here. Enjoy the night view of Osaka Bay from the observation deck while you are in the park.
The settings for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya are found also in other cities in Kansai region. The featured shopping street where SOS Brigade members shot their amateur movie was modeled after Amagasaki Chuo Shopping Street and Sanwa Hondori Shopping Street at the north side of Hanshin Amagasaki Station (Hanshin Main Line, Hanshin Namba Line) in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture. If you have a good memory, you will find locations for their self-made movie all over the streets. There are also several settings for the story near the Umeda Head Store of Hanshin Department Store in front of Umeda Station (Hanshin Main Line, Hankyu Kobe Main Line, Hankyu Kyoto Main Line etc.) in central Osaka. The “closed space” with buildings lined up was modeled after this area. The “阪神電車” (Hanshin Electric Railway) sign at Umeda Station was changed to “東阪電車” (Tohan Electric Railway) in the anime.
As The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya related spots in Nishinomiya are scattered around the city, it is recommended to get a Nishinomiya City map at a book store in Nishinomiya first, spare plenty of time, take advantage of railways and walk to the sites from the nearest stations. Print and take railway maps and time tables, especially for Hankyu Railway, with you.

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