Japan is boosting their tourism by designating 88 "animation spots" like train stations, school campuses, rural shrines and other everyday locations representing well-known manga characters, as reported by VOA News.
These landmarks became popular and sought-after because of the thousands of manga comics in Japan. As for the fans, they make take an animation pilgrimage since these places are known as "seichi" or "sacred spots", according to Yahoo News.
The tourism agency of Japan conducted a study regarding the number of visitors and their reason behind choosing Japan as their travel destination and the outcome was that Japan's entertainment industry was a significant factor for most survey takers.
"Japanese pop culture has grown to rival American Hollywood," Tsugihiko Kadokawa, chairman of Kadokawa Corp. publisher and film studio, one of the officials behind the effort, said Friday at a Tokyo news conference. "Animation can change the times," VOA News reports.
The 88 animation spots will be compiled by December which comprises of the manga and animation production houses, as well as the homes of manga artists and their dedicated museums, as detailed by the Yahoo News site.
According to VOA, one of the nominated spots is Washinomiya Jinja, a shrine in Saitama prefecture on the outskirts of Tokyo, a familiar scene in comics by Kagami Yoshimizu, which later became a TV animation series, "Lucky Star" or "Raki Suta."
The shrine may not be as fabulous and grand as compared to other shrines but it is an iconic landmark for manga fans of the series. Other animation spots that might get into the list are "Gundam" giant robot statue on Odaiba, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay, and the Ghibli Studio of Hayao Miyazaki, the Oscar-winning animator who made "Spirited Away," , the news site added.
In addition, excitement mounts even for merchants surrounding the animation pilgrimage sites, Teruko Masaki is a restaurant owner near the shrine, said "I'm all for it."
A website is created to facilitate the votation and everyone is encouraged to cast their votes and have their special spot to be included on the list.