‘Detective Conan: Black Iron Submarine’ Anime Makes Tokyo’s Hachijojima Popular Pilgrimage Destination Among Fans

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Nambara Senjojiki beach is featured in the animated film “Detective Conan: Black Iron Submarine.”

The popular manga series “Detective Conan” has also spawned a long-running animated movie franchise with box office hits such as this year’s “Detective Conan: Black Iron Submarine.”

This latest episode is set in the environs of Hachijojima, making the island, just over 280 kilometers from central Tokyo but part of the capital, a pilgrimage destination among anime fans.

In the movie, title character Conan Edogawa and his friends visit Hachijojima to go whale-watching and are caught up in a battle with Conan’s nemesis, the Black Organization.

The film features island scenery such as Mt. Hachijo-Fuji and Yaene Port as well as the local cuisine of shima-zushi. Since the movie’s release in April, it has grossed over ¥13.7 billion as of Sept. 18, the most so far in the franchise.

Lido Park Resort, which became the model for a hotel in the film, has seen an increasing number of Conan fans booking rooms since the movie’s release, said manager Shinya Utagawa.

A 20-year-old university student from Kawasaki visited Hachijojima in late August on a family trip to see the settings from the film and stayed at Lido Park Resort. She said she was impressed by the view of the sea from her guest room.

“It’s just like in the movie,” she said, mentioning that she called a friend from the same spot in the hotel where Conan made a phone call in the movie.

“I felt like I was in the movie world by visiting Hachijojima,” she said.

In August, the Hachijo town government offered island residents screenings of “Detective Conan: Black Iron Submarine” on five occasions to help them understand the movie to better welcome Conan fans to Hachijojima.

The animated film’s director Yuzuru Tachikawa attended some of the screenings, explaining why he chose Hachijojima as the setting and the scenes he was particular about.

The town’s industry and tourism division head said: “This film has fans not only in Japan but all over the world. We’re discussing how to make the best use of this opportunity for tourism.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Noritoshi Takehana sits on a beachside bench on Hachijojima that was the setting of a crucial scene in the animated movie “Detective Conan: Black Iron Submarine.”

Noritoshi Takehana, 34, who lives on Hachijojima and works for a local high school, is a big Conan fan who is trying to get people to know about Hachijojima.

He went to the Ikebukuro district of central Tokyo to watch the film on April 14, its first day in cinemas, and the next day as well, viewing it three times in total to check the areas of his island that appeared in the film.

On April 17, he started a website featuring his “Black Iron Submarine” tour to real places in the movie in the town of Hachijo.

In the past, Takehana had toured other places depicted in the animated film series, such as Nagoya and the island of Kozushima in Tokyo.

“This time, I wanted to provide information to Conan fans,” he said about why he started the website.

His website introduces eight locations with photos and English translations. His tweet that introduced the website has been viewed about 500,000 times.

A beachside bench that appears in the movie during a crucial scene is featured on Takehana’s website. It was hardly a popular spot, but this summer crowds gathered at the location.

“I often see people with Conan goods on the island,” Takehana said. “I want to keep spreading the word about the attractions of Hachijojima through Conan.”

The whale-watching tour that Conan was supposed to go on in the movie is usually organized in the winter, a low season for tourism to the island, because whales migrate in the surrounding waters during that time.

“I hope the Conan effect continues for a long time,” Lido Park Resort manager Utagawa said.

“I hope many tourists will come even during the low season to follow in Conan’s footsteps.”