Zombie Land Saga Is One Big Trip Through Japan’s Saga Prefecture

At its core, Zombie Land Saga is an anime about idols trying to save the Saga prefecture by becoming famous and bringing attention to the area. Some of their plans have more success than others, but as a whole, Franchouchou seems to be succeeding in bringing more tourism and good press to the quaint and calm area. But her success doesn't stop in the world of Zombie Land Saga itself -- the anime has even succeeded in bringing tourists to the real-life Saga prefecture of Japan.

This is due in no small part to the fact that every major location featured in Zombie Land Saga is a real location in our world's Saga, and many are faithfully recreated in the anime. From Saki's favorite restaurant to the abandoned mansion Franchouchou lives in, Zombie Land Saga's creators have put a great deal of effort into making a perfect recreation of the real-world Saga prefecture.

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Zombie Land Saga Is One Big Trip Through Japan's Saga Prefecture
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Every Day Is Yummy at Drive-in Tori

Drive-in Tori, the location of Franchouchou's first big-name gig and the favorite restaurant of Saki Nikaido, is featured in Episode 5 of the anime. A staple of Saga, Drive-in Tori has been around for years. Not only is the restaurant itself faithfully recreated in Zombie Land Saga, but the jingle they use in the commercial is the same one they use in real life.

In the days following the episode where Franchouchou shot a commercial for Drive-in Tori, the actual restaurant in Saga saw a huge boost in popularity, at one point getting so packed that the line ran out the door and around the block. Amazing what a few idols can do for business, right?

Get Your Hands Dirty at the Kashima Gatalympics

Also hailing from Episode 5, the Kashima Gatalympics might not be a location, exactly, but it's still a big part of Saga's real-life history. Held every year in the mudflats of Kashima City, the event is very similar to what was shown in the anime. Contestants compete in various events while trudging through the surrounding mud, such as mud sumo wrestling, a 25-meter dash, and a surfboard race.

Naturally, getting completely covered in mud is expected for all participants, not just zombies who want to hide their true identities. The event is extremely popular in Saga as well, with participant numbers regularly reaching the hundreds.

The Climactic Final Stage, Arpino

Arpino, the location of Franchouchou's final performance in Season 1, is a famous stage in Saga located near Karatsu Station. Franchouchou has performed here both in the anime and in real life, so it seems Arpino is a favorite locale of everyone's beloved zombie idols.

While the stage didn't collapse on Franchouchou in real life as it did in the anime, Arpino still felt bad for putting the idols in danger. They humorously sent a real-life apology letter to the Zombie Land Saga producers after the anime's final episode, apologizing to them for endangering Franchouchou and promising to take steps to ensure it would never happen again. Maybe that's why Franchouchou was willing to come back for an encore performance in real life?

Franchouchou's Home

While not specifically named as any real-life location, the abandoned mansion that Franchouchou makes the idols' home in is heavily based on the Karatsu City History and Folklore Museum, a place where anyone can learn more about the Saga prefecture's past. Seems fitting that the girls trying to save Saga would live in a place dedicated to remembering history, right? Even if it's not the building itself, the location is very clearly based on the museum, and having the idol group living there sends a rather clear message.

Locations and Events Aren't The Only Hallmarks, Either

Zombie Land Saga Revenge E2 White Ryu

Along with showcasing locales and events that Saga is famous for, Zombie Land Saga also features celebrities who got their start in the prefecture. White Ryu, the famous radio host of "So Saga Can Be Saga" in Season 2, is based on a famous musician and actor from Imari, Saga known as Hakuryu. He even voices White Ryu himself in the episode. And while his appearance is a bit changed, namely in the form of his giant pompadour, White Ryu still a faithful recreation of the man who inspired him.

The Zombie Land Saga producers clearly care a lot about the Saga prefecture. It makes one wonder if they were trying to project themselves onto Kotaro, Franchouchou's manager and the one most determined to save Saga from being wiped off the map. Whatever the reason may be, there's no doubting the producers' passion shines through in every episode, and their efforts to bring more attention to Saga have garnered attention from fans all over the world.

Next time you're wondering where to go on vacation, don't forget: the answers you're looking for can always be found in Saga.

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