Montag, 7. Januar 2019

Real life Hasetsu an Yurio On Ice Pilgrim


The real life version of Yuri Katsuki´s hometown „Hasetsu" is called Karatsu. A beautiful small town located near to Fukouka in the Saga region of Japan.
The Anime "Yuri On Ice" became popular all over the world. With the rising popularity, also Karatsu became more and more popular among foreign tourist.

As a huge fan of "Yuri On Ice" I took the chance to visit "Hasetsu" and explored together with friends Yuri´s hometown.
Many of you might know, that Cosplaying in public is not well received in Japan. As a foreigner you might get the "baka gaijin" (stupid foreigner) bonus, but in general if you appear in Cosplay at an event they might refuse to let you enter until you put off your costume.
Karatsu is different. With the "Saga on Ice" campaign they encourage Cosplayers to take pictures in the real life spots of "Hasetsu" and to explore this city while cosplaying.
The residents were very friendly, supportive and obviously used to "Yuri On Ice" cosplayers.


Fukouka Airport:
We decided to go by Airplane to Fukuoka, because this is how Yuri Katsuki arrived in Japan in the first episode.
We were too tired so we didn´t took any pictures.
We took the Kuukou Line to Karatsu, like Yuri did. The Kuukou line connects the Airport directly with Karatsu. It takes you about an hour to reach Yuri´s home.
When you are lucky you will be able to ride the new type of train, which also Yuri took.


Karatsu Station:
Karatsu Station is the spot were Yuri got fetched up by his family.
When we arrived, we also looked up the tourist information, were you could get free English "Yuri On Ice" sightseeing maps.
We also found tons of merchandise.
At the North exit of Karatsu you can also find the infamouse octopus statue, where Yurio took a Selfie.
Sadly the original is not an octopus but an lion.


Koyomachi (shopping district):
Of course we also visited the shopping district Koyomachi.

We went there very early in order not to disturb anyone during our shooting.
It was amazing, the shopping street played the "Yuri On Ice" OST non stop.
 
We also found next to merchandise and the tiger shirt, which Yurio discovered during his visit. The shop owner gave us a "Yuri On Ice" fan and flyers. She was super friendly and told us to take more pictures. XD


Tsubomi Snack Bar:
Tsubomi Snack Bar, is the bar where Victor was looking for Yuri and where he met Minako.
It was closed during daytime, so we didn´t went inside.


Hasetsu Castle:
The Castle is obviously one of the main spots to visit.
We visited Yuris jogging course. The stairs and the bench at the castle.
Also the spot where he talked to Victor.
And the most important place: The selfie spot of victor.
You could find photo spot signs with information’s about the location and the scenes of the Anime.
Karatsu did some promotion campaigns with the castle. You could find lot´s of merchandise in the shop and the characters all over the castle.

I loved it! (We also loved the aircon and free wifi ^_-).

The bridge:
Also one of Yuris jogging course: The bridge.
With an wonderful view to the ocean and the castle.
Especially during the night, the castle looked so beautiful.


Yu-Topia:
Yuri´s home and hot spring resort in Karatsu. We visited Yuri´s home and got some original Katsudon!
They even had the TV, where the family gathered together to watch the ice skating competitions.
They also offered a photo spot area with lot of "Yuri On Ice" characters.
Their merchandise booth were full of "Yuri On Ice" special edition stuff.
I really loved it there. Luckily it was pretty empty and were allowed to take some pictures. We got also asked by some Japanese fans for a selfie. You could meet "Yuri On Ice" fans in every corner, silently fangirling (BTW we were the only foreigners there).
Sadly we didn´t had time to visit the hot spring.


Makkachin´s vet:
We visited Makkachin´s vet and saw a lot of cute cats and dogs. Their window was full of "Yuri On Ice" merchandise and Makkachin´s.

Udon store:
During the Anime the ice rink showed some advertisement for an Udon store in "Hasetsu".
Apparently this Udon store really exists and had a small collaboration with the Anime.
We visited the store, found the poster and the exact spot of the poster.
We tried to get the same seats but it was super crowded. The food was really amazing!

Fukouka (Yatai Stores):
After our stay in Karatsu we moved to Fukuoka and spent there a few days.
The ending of "Yuri On Ice" showed some famous spots of Fukuoka, like the Yatai stores or this unique tower.


Conclusion:
We really really loved this place. If you are a huge fan of "Yuri On Ice" I would really recommend to visit this town at least once in your life. The people are really welcoming and helpful and you can also meet a lot of fans there. Doing this photoshooting was one of my dreams and it was way better than expected.
We also could took some pictures in the Ryokan which provides the Yukata´s of the collaboration edition (I will write a blog about it later).
You could say it was one of my highlights during this travel!


If you have any questions don’t hesitate to write me a message ^_-


Pictures by Meermiau or Shiroku
Yurio by Chiko Chan
Yuri by Shiroku




Map of the "Yuri On Ice" sightseeing spots in Karatsu
 


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