A half-day adventure retracing Hase Yuuki’s steps

26 February, 2017.

I only had half a day to spare the day before leaving Japan. After a quick breakfast at the hotel, I headed to the nearby Animate to check out some goods. Something familiar caught my eye as I walked up the stairs — Hase Yuuki’s curly curly perm LOL

Turned out they had a Isshuukan Friends live-action and manga display in between the 2nd and 3rd floors. Kyaaa it was pretty but I couldn’t take better pictures of it as people were walking to and fro. At the top of the flight of stairs, there was the ichifure standee with a “Ikebukuro Friends” board.

At 3F, there was a Isshuukan Friends corner.

I bought the tomodachi book (volume 7+1), and didn’t know that there was a FREE character illustration card until I paid at the counter. This postcard campaign was to commemorate the release of the Live-Action! I love such collaborations ne, and am really appreciative of mangakas who are also supportive of their respective live-actions. For the postcard, I was seriously deliberating between Fujimiya Kaori and Hase Yuuki… but yappari my fingers ended up pointing at Hase-kun LOL.

After I’m done with my quick ‘shopping’ at Animate, I headed to Shinjuku to search for the Locations Map. Without it, I doubt I’d be able to proceed. A week ago after the opening day stage greetings, I did try to find the map at Fuchu and Seiseki-Sakuragaoka stations along the Keio Line, but failed. This time, with the advice of a kind soul on twitter, I asked the station staff at the Shinjuku Keio Line information counter, and the staff-san kindly went to another counter inside the ticket area, and took the map for me. Really grateful!

I took a quick look at what’s doable and decided that I should just go ahead with my locations hunt, with what little time I had. I bought the Keio One-Day Pass from the ticket machine just for convenience sake (and in case I had time to do more locations) and off I went.

There were 3 locations I was targeting:

  1. the famous flight of stairs
  2. road slope with trees in the middle
  3. matsuri scene at yotsuya bridge

With this in mind, I boarded the train and wanted to get off at Seiseki-Sakuragaoka station, but somehow when it reached Chofu, I didn’t know what got into me but I got off the train and boarded the one across the platform. I was pre-occupied with twitter, fb, searching google maps, reading reviews etc, that I just blindly followed the other commuters and ended up on the wrong train lol. But I only realized it when the train left Inagi station. Oops, so now I was heading towards Hashimoto. Doushiyou~~ I panicked and got off immediately at the next stop.

And so, erm I was at Wakabadai station.

Not sure where this place was, I took a toilet break, and went over to the other side to catch the next train back to Chofu. As I waited in the waiting room (cos it was freezing outside), I looked at the locations map clearly and noticed that the 1. flight of stairs can also be accessed from Keio-Nagayama station too, which was just a stop away! And so…I crossed back again to the initial platform I got off from, and waited for the next train. Haha loads of time wasted. Phone battery draining. But that’s the result of lack of prior research ne. In a way, it was good that I made this stop, cos I managed to collect more location maps here lol.

Anyway, the train came and I got off successfully at Nagayama station.

Now I needed to find the bus “Sakura 92”. Spent quite a few minutes walking around and saw so many other bus stops but this. I gave up and went back to the train station and asked the staff there. He directed me to the other side of the station, down the stairs, turn left, then turn right…something like that. And I found it. Yokatta~

There was still about 10mins left before the bus would arrive, so I rushed to the Keio store and grabbed an onigiri just in case I got stranded somewhere without a combini haha. The bus arrived on time, and after a short ride, I safely got off at Josuijo-mae.

BTW, this bus stop also appeared in the anime ne.

I found myself at the top of the hill now, with rows of houses on both sides. So…. What next? The map isn’t very detailed, so I just know it’s somewhere near. But which side? Left or right? Forward or backward? HAHAHAHA. I just tried randomly turning left. And saw a flight of stairs. I got happy for a moment, then realized it’s not the same stairs LOL.

Walked down and around, and I realized there were stairs EVERYWHERE. *Faintz* After walking around and passing a few flights of stairs, I asked a man who was doing some chores outside his house, “Sumimasen, (pointing to the pic on the map) where is this flight of stairs?” and he gave me a really confused look… and said “I’m sorry, I don’t know.” He must be thinking, like what on earth is a gaijin doing here in a residential area searching for a flight of stairs!

There was no one else in sight, so I just had to rely on instincts. Something told me it’s on the other side of the hill, so I climbed back up… the winding slopes… flights of stairs… and was panting by the time I reached the bus stop again.

Looking at the map more clearly, it should be towards Seiseki-Sakuragaoka station, so I crossed the road and turned left, and true enough, after a few minutes, there it was!!! KYAAAAA!!

Scene from the movie:

Scene from the anime:

There were 2 other people doing ‘locations’ at that staircase, so I thought this must be it. But just to confirm, I took out the map and started matching the building colours and shapes (like playing that VSA ‘spot the difference’ game haha), and yes, it’s 100% the same flight of stairs! PHEW~ URESHII! That happiness when you finally find something after walking around without a clue… is priceless.

From the below BTS pic, Kento and Haruna were just standing there ne hehehe~

And so, one task completed. Two more to go.

  1. the famous flight of stairs ?
  2. road slope with trees in the middle
  3. matsuri scene at yotsuya bridge

According to the map, the road slope was nearby but I didn’t know where. When I saw a lady doing some chores outside her house, I went up and asked, “Sumimasen, (pointing to the pic on the map) where is this?”. I was expecting her reaction to be the same as the man earlier, but it was zenzen chigau! She was happily pointing to her right, “it’s just over there yo!” And I was so happy, and thanked her.

True enough, just a short walk down, I could see the slope and the trees! KYAA~~

Scene from the movie:

It was winter, so the trees were as bare as the ones in that scene from the movie. Of course it wasn’t snowing like in the movie~ But this is one of my favourite scenes, right before the one that made my tears flow… the BGM was so sad…. Awwww Yuuki… :'(

I walked further down to where Saki was standing.

So, this was Saki’s view ne.

Scene from the movie (during Spring when the sakuras were in full bloom):

And this was Yuuki’s view when he was walking up the slope (and saw Fujimiya-san walking at the slope below….sobs….):

Alright! Two down. One more to go.

  1. the famous flight of stairs ?
  2. road slope with trees in the middle ?
  3. matsuri scene at yotsuya bridge

On the way back to the bus stop, the lady whom I asked earlier saw me and actually asked if I managed to find the slope. She’s so yasashii!!! Back at the bus stop, I checked the schedule and realised that the bus would be coming in about 5mins. Good timing! ✨ And I sat at this bench and ate my ume onigiri ? lol.

The bus took me to Seiseki-Sakuragaoka station.

Checking the locations map, there was another scene filmed here too – the place where Yuuki, Kaori, Shougo and Saki met up before going to the matsuri – at the bridge connecting a shopping mall to the station. And I added that to my ‘target list’ heh.

  1. the famous flight of stairs ?
  2. road slope with trees in the middle ?
  3. meeting place before the matsuri
  4. matsuri scene at yotsuya bridge

I walked in circles around the station before finally finding that bridge. Although it seemed like an easy location, for someone who hasn’t been in the vicinity before, it proved quite difficult.

Scene from the movie:

Actually there were many scenes from the anime that were also set here and around the entire Seiseki-Sakuragaoka station itself. Like Yuuki waiting for Kaori at the top of the escalator for their date, the “crepe shop at the station” which was at the bottom of that escalator, the bench where they ate the crepe which was right below the clock structure, the Keio store sign at the top of the building, and even the tourist information center at the station…

Scenes from the anime:

This is not related to ichifure, but I got myself a Starbucks Sakura Cream Frappuccino which not only looked pretty but tasted really good too. It accompanied me through my journey towards the next and final location on my check list.

  1. the famous flight of stairs ?
  2. road slope with trees in the middle ?
  3. meeting place before the matsuri ?
  4. matsuri scene at yotsuya bridge

On the map, it stated that 4. would be a 12-min walk from the nearest station, so I was deciding if I should give up and head back to Shinjuku, or proceed in the cold. With an extra nudge from J via whatsapp, I decided to just go for it. I would probably have regretted it if I didn’t 🙂

And so I left Seiseki-Sakuragaoka station, and arrived at Mogusaen station.

Finding the matsuri scene location was pretty easy, with the help of Google Maps. I was happily sipping the Frappuccino, switching hands occassionally as my exposed hand was getting quite frozen. I passed by a shrine and some green house along the way. It was a quiet and peaceful town.

Finally I saw the location from far and got excited heh~

The view was beautiful.

Although the land was bare, the atmosphere was still great. There were joggers, people walking their dogs, and cyclists that passed by me every now and then.

There was a lone sakura tree in full bloom. I noticed it also appeared in the Making video.

So pretty~~???

Scene from the movie making:

After another series of spot-the-differences, I found that all this while I was right were Yuuki and Kaori stood, at the top of the steps lol. The bare area below was where the lanterns were being lit up ne.

I went down the steps, and this was how it looked from below.

On the other side of the steps towards Yotsuya bridge was where the row of takoyaki/matsuri stalls were, and where Kujo and Mayu met Kaori, Yuuki and Saki.

Yup, this was where Yuuki and Kaori were standing ne.

Scene from the movie:

When the sun showed its first signs of setting, I decided it was time to head back to the station. I took a slightly longer route back. Somehow it isn’t as tiring walking around in winter ne. And btw, that’s a Keio train approaching. I quite like walking across train tracks hehe (probably cos they don’t have such things here where I live bleh).

  1. the famous flight of stairs ?
  2. road slope with trees in the middle ?
  3. meeting place before the matsuri ?
  4. matsuri scene at yotsuya bridge ?

And so I managed to hunt down 4 movie locations in about 4 hours.

Mission accomplished✌

If you are interested to visit some of the Isshuukan Friends locations in future, the Locations Map scans might help, though hard copies would still be available at Keio Line stations for the time being.

7 thoughts on “A half-day adventure retracing Hase Yuuki’s steps

      1. you are really great on writing this long enough story neechan~ taihen deshou? ?
        ah iie iie, i didn’t help you anything yo! ?
        でも、若しかして… is this me what you mean ka? “This time, with the advice of a kind soul on twitter, I asked the station staff…” LOL gomen… watashi kininarimasu! xDD

        1. Yeah, ganbarimashita ? I think I bore people with such long posts… but I wanna write it down so that when I read it next time, I can remember (like kaori’s diary lol).
          Hahahaha kininaru ka… Actually the advice was from ぶんぶんさん but as I was chatting with you then, without your encouragement, I might have given up too ne, dakara arigatou!! ?

  1. this is exactly a long posts, but feels like i was there with you lol. so glad to read this ne ? anyway, seems like there’s no one in the location? such like a calm town~ haha
    ah sou ka! 聞いてくれてごめんね。笑 ??
    ぶんぶんさん ka! un ya, because she ever visited the stairs ne~ ぶんぶんさんって本当に優しいでしょう?
    dou itashimashite, neechan ? ((lol i can’t stop laughing bcs my own baka question ??)) hahahaha

    1. oh there were a few people around, maybe doing anime locations. there was also a girl doing photo shoot session at the flight of stairs hehe. うん、ぶんぶんさん本当に優しい! thanks to her, i managed to get hold of the maps. iie, dun say that yo! 本当にポンチョさんに感謝しますよ!i’m the baka one ne, getting on the wrong train and walking up and down the wrong slopes and stairs hahaha~

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