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Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

福島

Written by Ramona Taranu

2018.05.17

Azabu-juban, located near Roppongi in Tokyo, is a district known for its art galleries, charming shops, and beautiful shrines. This article introduces places featured in "Sailor Moon," a popular anime series set mainly in Azabu-juban.

Nostalgic Encounters with the World of "Sailor Moon"

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

© Naoko Takeuchi

If you grew up in the nineties, you probably watched or at least heard of the anime series "Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon." Full of humor and action, this series brought us stories inspired by legends related to the Moon that can be traced in both Asian and Greek mythologies. Moreover, it taught us the value of friendship and kindness.

In this article, we introduce an exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of Sailor Moon along with a walking itinerary through Azabu-juban, the Tokyo neighborhood where most of the action is set. Fans of the series will find the streets of Azabu-juban strangely familiar.

Highlights of the Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary Exhibition

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

© Naoko Takeuchi

An exhibition marking the celebration of 25 years since the release of the manga and anime series "Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon" was held at the Roppongi Hills Observation Deck Tokyo City View from April 16 until June 19, 2016.

Visitors were able to see the first editions of the manga series and even first drafts of the character design, original artwork, and figurines on display. In addition, there were two gorgeous original works created by author Naoko Takeuchi specifically for this exhibition.

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

© Naoko Takeuchi

The first exhibition room was designed as the Moon Castle. The Azabu-juban area, the actual setting of the "Sailor Moon" series, and Tokyo Tower, which appears as a leitmotif throughout the series, were visible in the background.

The exhibition finished but how about enjoying a walk through Azabu-juban, the stage of so many events depicted in the "Sailor Moon" series?

Our First Destination: Hikawa Shrine

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

Azabu-juban is within walking distance from Roppongi. However, we suggest you take the subway (Toei Oedo Line) one station. As soon as you get out of Azabu-juban Station through exit 1, go to the right on the street that goes up the Sendai-zaka hill.

Sendai-zaka got its name from a villa that used to exist in this area in the Edo period (1603-1868). It belonged to the influential Date clan, who ruled over the Sendai province (present-day Miyagi prefecture).

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

On top of Sendai-zaka hill at your right, you will find Hikawa Shrine. This shrine is a popular destination for the first shrine visit of the year as it is believed that prayers regarding love relationships and passing exams are granted by the deity enshrined here.

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

As you may have guessed, this shrine became the model for the Hikawa Jinja in the "Sailor Moon" series, the place where Rei (aka Sailor Mars) is working as a miko (Shinto shrine priestess).

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

Although the Hikawa Shrine on Sendai-zaka hill is the setting for the events in "Sailor Moon", the image of the shrine in series was inspired by the Hikawa Shrine located in Akasaka.

If you have the chance, visit the one in Akasaka, too, as it is not very far away. The shrine is located in a peaceful green area right in the heart of the metropolis.

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

Right in front of the entrance to Hikawa Shrine is the Ando Memorial Church, which was built in 1917. Its large, beautiful stained glass windows attract the attention of every passer-by.

Standing right beside a shrine, this church is a symbol of the eclectic atmosphere of the Azabu-juban area, where elements of Eastern and Western cultures stand naturally side by side, enhancing each other's presence.

Azabu-juban Shotengai - A Charming Market Street

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

Azabu-juban Shotengai is an beautiful district with many shops and restaurants. Some of the shops here boast a history going back to the Edo period, while others are very recent. The way that traditional and new shops blend in together harmoniously makes this area look very sophisticated.

"Sailor Moon" fans will experience a déjà vu on these streets, as they served as the setting for many events depicted in the series. The Azabu-juban Shotengai was an official partner of the "Sailor Moon" exhibition, displaying posters of the event.

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

The charming little shops on the streets of the Azabu-juban Shotengai are not only pleasant to visit, but are also ideal places to find quality souvenirs.

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

Some of the shops exude an irresistible charm such as Kaleidoscope Mukashi-kan, a store specialized in kaleidoscopes.

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

At Kaleidoscope Mukashi-kan, you are allowed to take any of the items in your hands and see what kind of magic images they reveal. The kaleidoscopes on sale here would also make for unique souvenirs from Azabu.

If you've watched the anime series with the Japanese soundtrack, you'll probably remember the lyrics of the opening song. The part going "kokoro wa mangekyo" means "my heart is a kaleidoscope" so it's no wonder to find such a shop in Azabu Shotengai.

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban
Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

In fact, there are other shops and restaurants that also seem to have a subtle connection to the world of "Sailor Moon". A stroll through Azabu-juban is an occasion to discover many more places like this on your own.

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

During your walk, you'll often see Tokyo Tower. Its mesmerizing figure seems to be watching over the Azabu area.

Discover Sailor Moon's Tokyo! A Stroll in Azabu-Juban

This is how Tokyo Tower appears from the Roppongi Hills Observation Deck Tokyo City View, where the "Sailor Moon" exhibition was held.

Explore Azabu with Sailor Moon as Your Guide!

The Azabu-juban area is a residential district so not exactly a sightseeing destination, although it has many art galleries, cafes, traditional shops, not to mention shrine and temples.

However, if you're a fan of the "Sailor Moon" series, this district is a must-visit next time when you're in Tokyo!

Azabu Area Information

Azabu-juban Shotengai
Address: Tokyo, Minato, Azabu-juban
Nearest station: Azabu-juban station (Toei Oedo Line, Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line)
Official Website: Azabu-juban Shotengai

Sailor Moon Exhibition
Address: Tokyo, Minato, Roppongi 6-10-1 Roppongi Hills Mori Tower 52F, Tokyo City View Sky Gallery
Hours: 10:00 - 22:00 (last entry 21:30)
Exhibition period: April 16 - June 19, 2016
Nearest station: Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Toei Oedo Line)
Access: 1-minute walk from Roppongi Station
Official Website: Sailor Moon Exhibition(Japanese)

* Main image courtesy of the Sailor Moon Exhibition, ©Naoko Takeuchi.

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.