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Sailor Moon Real-life Locations Part 1: Azabu-Juban is Where It’s At

When I first moved to Tokyo in 2016, I originally lived in a sharehouse in the high-end suburb of Azabu-Juban. Imagined how stoked I was when I discovered that Azabu-Juban was the setting for the Sailor Moon series. And not only that, but that one could visit the real-life locations as they appeared in the manga/anime! I immediately set about doing so on a spare weekend, and was pretty pleased with the results.

Around Azabu-Juban Station

The Azabu-Juban district in Tokyo is located in Minato Ward, one of the most expensive of Tokyo’s 23 wards to live in. It is well known for its high concentration of embassies, including the Australian Embassy. Near the subway station is a pleasant shopping street, with trendy boutiques, cafes and even a 100 yen shop. I lived in the area for around 6 months and can attest to the elegant and rich vibe. I saw countless BMWs, Mercedes and other luxury cars around all the time.

The Sailor Moon girls live in “Juban” (also romanised as “Jyuban”), which is clearly modelled after Azabu-Juban. I guess this must mean they are pretty high-end girls, right?  😉

Azabu-Juban subway station on the Toei Oedo Line
Azabu-Juban Station is served by the Toei Oedo and Tokyo Metro Namboku Lines.

Hikawa Shrine

In the series, Rei Hino (Sailor Mars) and her grandfather live and work here. Even though the initial kanji of the shrine is different in real life (the character for “ice” instead of “fire”), it is still read the same way. 

Sendaizakaue Bus Stop

Weave your way into the more suburban areas of Azabu, south of the station, and you will find Sendaizakaue Bus Stop. Unfortunately it doesn’t resemble the anime anymore, but the bus stop itself uses the exact same name. 

Why Azabu?

The creator of the Sailor Moon series, Naoko Takeuchi, is said to have attended university in the area, and lived in Minato Ward during the time she planned and drew the manga. No doubt she feels some affinity for the area, which naturally acts as reference points for her story settings. 

This blog post on Tuxedo Unmasked Does Naoko Takeuchi Still Live Near Azabu? offers some good insight on Takeuchi’s connection with Azabu.

From April to June 2016, to coincide with the airing of Sailor Moon Crystal season 3 on Tokyo MX, a Sailor Moon Exhibition was held in the nearby Roppongi Hills. It wouldn’t surprise me if the choice of location was a homage to the mangaka Naoko Takeuchi’s connection with the area.

Credit: Kudos to this Japanese blogger who did all the hard work before me, and where I grabbed the anime screenshots from.

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