Seiseki Sakuragaoka is a remarkable, brilliant site for fans of ‘Mimi wo Sumaseba’, Whisper of the Heart (1995). It is not the ‘official location model’ of the work because the creation company—Ghibli—has not officially stated it. However, even after more than twenty years since the film’s release in 1995, fans still consider it a sacred site. I witnessed the pilgrims (ladies) walking around the site today. In addition, I was very impressed to observe local shop owners continue idolizing the film and welcoming fans. The ‘Seishun no Post’, the vernal postbox in front of Keio Seiseki Sakuragaoka station, is still kept clean and the stamp rally for the fans is being maintained. Moreover, the station still uses the film’s theme song while making announcements. This is an excellent example of sustainable contents tourism. The original version of ‘Mimi wo Sumaseba’ is Manga, another example of multiple uses of content.
This short trip (but over a 10 km walk) revealed that the local community’s enthusiasm for the work is a crucial factor in sustaining contents tourism.
After the pilgrimage, I watched the DVD again, and interestingly, found it profounder than before. This re-cross reference process is what contents tourism is all about.