Translated by Kayoko Windle
Seiseki Sakuragaoka - A Hilly Tokyo Town For "Whisper Of The Heart" Fans
Written by Kazuki Tsuchido
Seiseki Sakuragaoka is a charming neighborhood of Tama in Tokyo, located 30 minutes by express train from Shinjuku Station. The station and many settings of this quaint town are featured in Studio Ghibli movie, "Whisper of the Heart," drawing film fans from all over the world.
Seiseki Sakuragaoka in Tokyo - A Pleasant Town that will Delight "Whisper of the Heart" Fans
Seiseki-Sakuragaoka is a charming, upscale town with a bustling station front, located just 30 minutes by express train from Shinjuku Station via the Keio line, right by the Tama River. It is famous throughout Japan and the world for being the setting of the Studio Ghibli movie, “Whisper of the Heart."
Take a stroll through Seiseki-Sakuragaoka’s streets and you’ll experience a laid back, comfortable atmosphere while reliving scenes from the film.
Start From the Bustling Station Front
In the movie, there is a scene where the theme song, "Country Road," was ironically changed to "Concrete Road," but this part of Tokyo is quiet and pleasant to live in. The surroundings are hilly with lots of green nature, and the Tama River flowing through is beautiful.
In front of the station is a map that lets you follow the scenes of the movie by foot. This is a once in a lifetime pilgrimage for Ghibli fans.
Also, next to the map there's something you don't see every day.
This is a seishun, or adolescent, postbox. This isn't a regular place to put your mail! Instead, you should write your dream or goals and put them in the box. This mail is not delivered anywhere but when your dreams come true then you can write again to report your success and express your gratitude.
We saw a little girl who came with her mother and put her letter in the box. What did she write? Let's hope for the best for her!
Climb Up Irohazaka Slope
Leaving the station, you'll see a gentle incline. If you've seen the movie, you'll already know there are lots of inclines across this city which makes your stroll a great exercise. As you go on your way you'll get to Irohazaka. But there's still further to go!
I know you may be short of breath, but keep going!
Finally, after you've conquered the stairs, you'll see Konpiragu Shrine. Standing quietly in a deserted location, it gives the atmosphere of this area an extra touch.
Go past the shrine to find a peaceful residential area, a scene common in Japan. As you keep wandering you'll overhear the sounds of kids' speaking loudly or their parents chatting.
This is Kumano Shrine. Seiseki Sakuragaoka area has a history which means these kinds of old buildings are around all over the place.
This is called "Mimioka" (Whisper Hill) by Ghibli fans. If you have watched "Whisper of the Heart," you will understand!
It's rare in the Tokyo area for a hill to overlook the city like this. Sit back and contemplate here, while imaging the lives of the people in each house, you can experience a sense of accomplishment, looking over the scenery after conquering the climb.
Off the beaten path, Seiseki Sakuragoka is a peaceful Japanese town with a slower pace of life and beautiful outdoor scenery. Even if you're not familiar with the works of Studio Ghibli, it's still a delightful place for a stroll.