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Tokyo Love Story

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A manga by Fumi Saimon was adapted into a television drama and became a great hit worldwide. Tokyo Love Story was aired in 1991 and has not yet lost its luster. As the title suggests, many of the filming locations are in Tokyo. However, its climactic and some other scenes were filmed in Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku. Thus, many pilgrims visit various places across Ehime Prefecture. Now, let’s tour around the filming locations in Ehime Prefecture together.
Ehime Prefecture is where Kanchi (Kanji Nagao), the hero of Tokyo Love Story, was born and brought up. Perhaps, it could be very common by now among fans of Japanese television drama around the world to answer “Kanchi” when asked what comes to mind first when you think of Ehime. It was filmed mainly at three locations in Ehime Prefecture. We will introduce the locations in Kuma-cho (presently Kumakogen-cho) first.
In the final episode, Kuma Junior High School which was used as the school Kanchi graduated appears. In the drama, the closing of the school was talked about. However, in real life, the old school building was demolished in order to build the new one. In the old school building, there was the pillar used for shooting. And Rika (Rika Akana) and Kanchi’s names under an umbrella were engraved on it. The pillar is still treasured in Kumakogen Furusato Travel Village.

Kumakogen Furusato Travel Village has a permanent exhibition section for Tokyo Love Story. And the pillar on which Rika and Kanchi’s umbrella was engraved is displayed along with a photograph of the Kuma Junior High School old building for the fans around the world. As it is alright to touch the pillar, please touch it with your loved one. You might become happy together.
The next major filming location to introduce is Ozu City which still has the scenery of the old town and is called little Kyoto of Ehime. It is where Rika and Kanchi took a walk when Rika said to Kanchi, “Please show me around.” Kanchi’s hometown shrine that Rika and Kanchi visited in the final episode is Ozu Shrine (Ozu-jinja) in the city. It is a historical shrine whose history started in the 14th century when Ozu Castle was built. It could be said that the scene Kanchi looked down the scenery of his hometown together with Rika from the shrine is a great scene that left a strong impression on many fans.

Rika and Kanchi also went to “Ohanahan-dori Street” in Ozu City together. Take time and walk in the impressive old street in the pleasant atmosphere. The post box into which Rika dropped the goodbye letter to Kanchi is also in Ozu City. It was at the riverside of the Hijikawa River in Ozu City that Rika kicked a can.
The last and the most famous location is the area around Baishinji Station in Matsuyama City where many of climactic scenes were filmed. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is the best pilgrimage site of Tokyo Love Story. The scene Rika and Kanchi made their farewells was filmed at the breakwater near the station. It is the place that Rika told Kanchi the departure time of her train: “Four forty-eight.” Then, she said, “Aitai kara sayonara wa iwanai yo. (I won’t say goodbye because I want to see you again.)” It was really wistful.
Baishinji Station was where Rika was supposed to be waiting. The station can be viewed from the breakwater where Rika and Kanchi made their farewells. After all, they were not able to see each other, as Rika took the train that left at 4:33 without waiting for the 4:48 train. Rika tied a handkerchief to the handrail at the station before getting on the train. There is a sign now at the handrail indicating it was the location for Tokyo Love Story. In the drama, the handkerchief was left tied without being noticed by anyone after all. Now, fans are tying their handkerchiefs to the handrail almost every day.
There may be many fans that were not able to hold their tears seeing the scene that Rika looked back on the past. That scene was filmed on the Iyo Railway Takahama Line train in Shikoku. There is a pilgrimage site of Tokyo Love Story even on the train.

Although there are several areas that have the locations for Tokyo Love Story, the locations in each area are situated close to each other. So, it is not a dream to visit all the locations. If you are a fan of Japanese television drama, please go to Ehime Prefecture and make a pilgrimage to all the locations for Tokyo Love Story.

[Photo credit] Tokyo Love Story, 20,790 JPY, Sold by Visual Planning Department of Fuji Television, Distributed by Pony Canyon, © 2001 Fuji Television

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