Japan boasts a number of world-famous video games such as Super Mario, Final Fantasy, and Dragon Quest series. Though these games feature imaginary worlds, there are other popular video games that are based on actual locations in Japan.
If you are the biggest fan of these video games, it will be very exciting to see the locations in real life! From one of the busiest streets in the heart of Tokyo to a small remote island in the countryside, here we introduce the popular video games and real-life locations in Japan!
Yakuza series(Ryu ga Gotoku)
“Yakuza series (Ryu ga Gotoku in Japanese)” is an action-adventure game series that is widely recognized as one of the most famous video games produced by Sega. Since its first release in 2005, it has been selling more than 1.4 million copies (including online downloads) in total as of 2020. Players control the main character and gain fighting skills through combat with their enemies. Many people might learn the word Yakuza from this game (in case you don’t know, it means Japanese mafia).
The fundamental setting of Kamurocho, an imaginary city that appears in the story, is said to be based on the red-light district of Kabukicho area in Tokyo, and here are the actual locations from the game;
Kabukicho and Golden-gai (Tokyo)
Lively areas featuring a number of Izakaya bars, restaurants, and karaoke, Shinjuku is a typical nightlife spot in Tokyo. Kabukicho and Golden-gai are the popular drinking streets in Shinjuku, and Kamurocho took inspiration from Kabukicho. Golden-gai served as inspiration for Champion Street in the game. If you played the game before coming to Japan, you will be surprised how they create such a resemblance on the game; some people say you get the sense of the direction and know where to go even though it’s their first time visiting Shinjuku.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 features another fictitious area called Sotenbori, which is undoubtedly inspired by the Dotonbori area in Osaka. This vibrant area features many shops and restaurants with a lively atmosphere. You can easily discover a number of iconic landmarks that you see in the video game such as a moving crab at “Kani Doraku”, a famous crab restaurant. It will be an exciting experience to explore the area while comparing the real townscape with the setting of the game!
Ghost of Tsushima
In July 2020, SONY released a new big title which has later become recognized as an extraordinary video game around the world. “Ghost of Tsushima” is an open-world action-adventure game that features the beautiful landscape of Japan back in the middle ages around the 13th century. Players control Samurai warriors to combat enemies trying to invade the country from outside. The story mainly takes place in Tsushima, a real existing island located to the north of the Kyushu region. This beautiful island is accessible in 35 minutes by domestic flights from Fukuoka airport.
You can find several real locations that appear in the video game as you walk around the small island. Here are the most remarkable spots that you should not miss;
The scenic sandy beach actually exists along the western coast of Tsushima island. It is known as a battleground for the Mongolian invasion which occurred in the 13th century, which is basically the origin story of this video game. Komoda Shrine is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the warriors who lost their lives during the battle, and an annual festival is held in November to console their spirits.
Iconic peak standing 519 meters in the central northern part of the island. It boasts a unique ecosystem created by a diversity of plants including both Japanese indigenous and continental. The steep trail is suitable for intermediate or advanced hikers. Along the trail, you can find scenic spots, including Shiratake Shrine with an impressive torii gate silently standing in nature. Visiting there will remind you of the impressive scene in the game featuring torii gates and a small shrine on the summit of a rocky mountain!
“Persona” is a popular video game series developed by Atlus, a Japanese video game developer based in Tokyo. It is basically a role-playing video game, and the story takes place in real modern Tokyo areas such as Shibuya. Players can control the main character called Joker, a male student who spends an ordinary high school life during the day and alternatively transforms into a phantom thief at night. It has also been made into an animation series and received a high reputation and reviews around the world. There are several spots that appear in the story that you can visit in person around Tokyo.
Shibuya Center-Gai is an iconic center of youth culture and fashion trends packed with countless numbers of small shops. It is accurately reproduced in the game as Shibuya Central City. Every detail of a real bookstore, lottery shop, narrow streets and even vending machines is elaborately created in the scenes.
Sangenjaya is a peaceful area that is a 5 minutes train ride from Shibuya on the Tokyu Denen-toshi Line. In the Persona series, it is called Yongen-jaya and “Café Leblanc”, the main spot in the game, as well as a residence for the main character, is located there. You can visit the small hostess bar which is used as a real model of the imaginary café at Sangenjaya.
Japan Wonder Travel Tours
Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan.
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots!
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help!
▶Tokyo Fish Market Tour @Tsukiji – Enjoy Local Food and Drink
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo and try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake with one of our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking guides!
▶Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.
▶Kyoto Private Full Day Walking Tour
On this full-day private tour of Kyoto, you will be able to see the highlights of Kyoto in just one day and at the same time develop a deeper understanding of both the culture of the area and Japan as a whole.
For video game lovers, visiting real-life locations will bring an unforgettable and exciting experience. It will allow you to directly feel the atmosphere that you can usually feel only through a screen. It also will give you an opportunity to discover impressive hidden spots that are rarely featured in guide books!