There are many instances of anime successes rejuvenating tourism in some lesser-known parts of Japan, and one of those towns that benefitted from an anime boom is Iwami of Tottori Prefecture, the setting location for the hit anime series Free!.

Even now, two years since Free! first aired, fans are still flocking to Iwami to drink in the atmosphere of the town where their favorite characters “live.” A Japanese fan recently went the extra mile to combine some of the anime scenes and actual locations into a single frame, creating awesome 2.5-dimensional images that went viral and triggered the feels in fellow fans. Check them out after the break!

Iwami is a coastal town located at the north-easternmost part of Tottori Prefecture. Before Free!’s big break, visitors came to the town for its breathtaking views of mountains, natural rock formations, and of course, its beautiful beaches. Since the anime became popular, however, Iwami started seeing a new group of tourists who came forth to see the “hometown” of Haruka, Makoto, and the rest of the Free! gang.

▼ A poster featuring the anime’s leading characters welcomes visitors to Iwami.

Much of the background scenery in the anime was heavily based on actual places in Iwami, to the extent that a fan could literally crop out scenes in the anime and fit them right into their real-world locations!

Free! fans, do you remember which scenes these places popped up in?

There are several ways to tour the town; on foot, by bus, by taxi, or you could simply rent a bicycle for just 500 yen (US$4.20) a day. The Iwami Tourism Association also has a few recommended cycling routes, among which the Free! Location Full Course covers ten locations featured in the anime.

▼ The blue dotted line indicates the full course, which covers 13.3 kilometers (8.3 miles) and takes about three and a half hours to complete (time estimated for cycling only).


▼ Even the keys to the rental bikes are decorated with character keychains!

For more information on Iwami, visit the Iwami Tourism Association homepage.

Source: Game Over
Images: Twitter/@momo_hiki29, Iwami Tourism Association