Top 10 Anime Set in Kanagawa [Best Recommendations]

If you have never visited or lived in Japan, you might have fallen under the false impression that Kanagawa Prefecture and some of the most famous cities (like Yokohama or Kawasaki) are a part of Tokyo Prefecture. In fact, they are not! Kanagawa Prefecture is located just south of Tokyo, and while it does share a large border with the big city and it's easy to travel on the train between them, they are not the same!

Kanagawa is its own Prefecture with its own charms, and it's not fair to simply group it in as being a part of Tokyo. Yokohama is arguably its most famous city, but it has even more to offer. From the beautiful beaches at Enoshima, mountain views in Hakone, rich history in Kamakura, and more, Kanagawa shouldn't be forgotten as a unique and special part of Japan.

When it comes to anime, of course many of them are based in Tokyo. But did you know there are plenty of great anime that take place in Kanagawa as well? Some of the most famous and well-loved anime ever actually take place in this prefecture - and you might not even realise that's the setting! So what anime can you watch that are set in areas like Yokohama, Kawasaki, Kamakura, Hakone, and more? Read on to find out on our list of the Top 10 Anime Set in Kanagawa!

10. Area no Kishi (The Knight in the Area)

  • Episodes: 37
  • Air Date: Jan. 2012 – Sep. 2012

Area no Kishi is about two brothers named Kakeru and Suguru Aizawa who both love to play soccer. While the elder brother Suguru makes it onto the Japan under-15 national team, Kakeru doesn't have as much success on the pitch and settles for a managerial position instead. When a horrible accident occurs with both brothers being hit by a truck, Suguru tragically dies. Kakeru is only saved by a miracle heart transplant - and it is Suguru's heart that he receives. The incident makes him change his mind about becoming a famous player, and becomes determined to make his brother's dream of playing in the World Cup for Japan come true. Alongside his childhood friend Nana who plays for the female national team, Kakeru pushes forward to make Suguru's dream a reality.

Area no Kishi adds a sports anime to our list of the Top 10 Anime Set in Kanagawa. It tells an emotional story about overcoming hardships and tragedy, and working with the support of friends to achieve goals. Despite a sad beginning, Area no Kishi isn't a sad anime - it's a feel-good sports story about an underdog chasing the dream of becoming a star in his field, and doing it for all the right reasons. The whole story takes place in Kamakura, Kanagawa's beautiful and historic city. If you like sports anime and stories about underdogs that aren't willing to give up, you might enjoy Area no Kishi as your choice for an anime set in Kanagawa!


9. Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (His and Her Circumstances)

  • Episodes: 26
  • Air Date: Oct. 1998 – Mar. 1999

Yukino Miyuzawa seems to be the perfect girl in Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou. She's smart, nice, and beautiful while always being modest - except that she actually isn't. All of Yukino's life is a lie to get her the attention she craves, and everyone has fallen for it. Everyone, that is, but the new transfer student Soichiro Arima. He proves to be even smarter than her, and when he finds out her secrets, he uses them against her to get her to help him all the time. And yet despite this, they become friends, and eventually something even more! It sounds unlikely but to really understand Yukino and Soichiro's odd relationship you'll have to watch Kare Kano for yourself.

Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou does a great job of really looking into how people think and feel, and how relationships develop. It's of course a romance anime, but a more honest one than many of its fluffier counterparts. The story and characters are believable, as is the way their relationship develops. Overall it was well received by fans of anime in the shoujo genre. And of course, it's set in Kanagawa Prefecture. Most of the anime takes place in Kawasaki or Yokohama, the two biggest cities in the prefecture that border Tokyo. For the shoujo romance fans looking for an anime in Kanagawa, look no further than Kare Kano for something new to watch!


8. Tentai Senshi Sunred

  • Episodes: 26
  • Air Date: Oct. 2008 – Mar. 2009

Tentai Senshi Sunred sounds like a typical and predictable story about the struggle between good and evil. On one side of the fight is Sunred, the hero who is trying to keep an organisation called Florsheim from taking over the world. On the other side is General Vamp, Sunred's adversary, who together with his minions is always trying to remove Sunred from the picture. But here is where Tentai Senshi Sunred departs from the norm. Despite being a hero, Sunred is lazy and violent, living off his girlfriend and spending his free time playing pachinko. Meanwhile General Vamp is well-spoken and polite, taking excellent care of his minions and enjoys cleaning the house. And that is anything but normal characterisation.

All of Tentai Senshi Sunred takes place in Kawasaki, a city on the border of Kanagawa between it and Tokyo. It tells the story of the fight between good and evil in that city, but does it in a hilarious, unexpected, and very refreshing style. Tentai Senshi Sunred is likely to be unlike any other anime you have ever watched, and while it may not appeal to everyone, it's certainly worth trying. Each episode is only 13 minutes long and comprised of short stories ranging from a few minutes to just a few seconds to be sure to keep you on your toes. It's definitely a hidden gem for parody and superhero fans alike, so if you haven't heard of it before, be sure to give it a try! The fate of Kawasaki lies in the hands of the most unlikely hero.


7. Aoi Hana (Sweet Blue Flowers)

  • Episodes: 11
  • Air Date: Jul. 2009 – Sep. 2009

Aoi Hana is a story of friendship (and more) between two girls in their first year of high school. The first is Fumi Manjoume, who is starting the year off already broken hearted after leaving a broken relationship. Akira Okudaira is her childhood friend she hasn't seen for over ten years, but luckily they are able to reconnect this year! Both girls face the usual romantic struggles that many girls face in high school and has friends, they help each other through them. But what about the romance that is starting to blossom between them? Will they stay just friends, or is something more there?

Aoi Hana is a shoujo ai romance, so if you don't like that, this anime won't be for you. But if you enjoy a fluffy love story with a high school setting and cute girls exploring their friendship, you've come to the right anime! And of course, both of the girls' respective high schools are in Kanagawa Prefecture! Aoi Hana is considered to be one of the most realistic and believable lesbian stories you can watch in anime, which is pretty high praise! It's forward, open, and honest about Fumi and Akira's relationship rather than hiding it behind jokes or sex, or never addressing that it's there. Instead it's a refreshing shoujo ai to enjoy with a story you can actually believe, which easily makes it one of the Top 10 Anime Set in Kanagawa.


6. s.CRY.ed

  • Episodes: 26
  • Air Date: Jul. 2001 – Dec. 2001

s.CRY.ed is a science fiction anime set in a unique environment. An unexplained seismic phenomenon known as the Great Uprising caused large pieces of the earth to rise skyward, creating a harsh and secluded land called the Lost Ground. The main character is Kazuma, a young man working as a mercenary in this area. Kazuma has a special ability that allows him to cover one arm and his torso with a metallic alloy, making him what is known as a Alter. Meanwhile, an organisation called HOLY is on the hunt for Native Alter Users, and Kazuma has become their ex target! Not only does Kazuma have to survive however he can in the Lost Ground, but now he has to deal with HOLY on his tail as well.

While the setting of s.CRY.ed is the Lost Ground, the land that was affected and rose out of the earth used to be Kanagawa Prefecture! That makes s.CRY.ed a unique entry on our list of the Top 10 Anime set in Kanagawa. It's a fictional land with a cool sci fi twist, but it's originally Kanagawa. Definitely a cool take on using a real life setting. s.CRY.ed was well received when it released, and is one of the few anime that some people prefer to watch the English dub for as it was very well made (though as usual this debate can be argued until the end of time). The anime has a lot of twists and turns, starting out with a simple plot that becomes more and more complicated as it climaxes. And if you like an anti-hero as the star, Kazuma won't disappoint. For a more fantasy look at Kanagawa, check out s.CRY.ed!


5. Hamatora The Animation

  • Episodes: 12
  • Air Date: Jan. 2014 – Mar. 2014

Hamatora The Animation is about a very special detective agency called Hamatora and the cases that they solve. The two main characters, Nice and Murasaki, are what are known as Minimum Holders. This means they can perform Minimums, or small miracles, to help people. It's a gift that only manifests itself in a small number of people. Hamatora operates out of a cafe as a small organisation, taking jobs as they can, but slowly the jobs they are taking all seem to be interconnected. Could they all be related to the same serial killer that is targeting Minimum Holders specifically? Not only do Nice and Murasaki want to get to the bottom of the mystery, they're also targets of the murderer themselves - extra incentive to solve the case!

The name Hamatora itself is actually a play on the anime's setting in Yokohama. The "hama" part comes from the second half of Yokohama, and the "tora" from the first part of the Japanese word トラブルシューティング (toraburushūtingu), which means troubleshooters in katakana. That makes Kanagawa Prefecture not only important to the setting of the anime, but even to its name! Hamatora The Animation is part of a larger project including manga and a video game, so if you like the story you can get really involved with it through many different media. It's been compared to X-Men and had a modern and edgy animation style. If those things interest you and you like Yokohama for a setting, check out Hamatora The Animation for supernatural mystery fun!


4. Love Hina

  • Episodes: 24
  • Air Date: Apr. 2000 – Sep. 2000

Keitaro Urashima's life goal is to go to the prestigious Tokyo University in Love Hina, even promising a girl in his youth that they would see one another again there someday. Too bad Keitaro's entrance exam goes terribly! Not giving up yet, he becomes determined to study harder and try again while living at a hotel his grandmother owned called the Hinata Inn. Little did he know that the hotel had been converted into an all-girls' dormitory called Hinata House! He hadn't planned for that. Somehow Keitaro finds himself the manager of the dorm though when his grandmother passes the title on to him - much to the dismay of the tenants - and living with five girls! He could have never seen this coming! And will he ever find the girl he made the promise to go to Tokyo University with as a child.

Keitaro might be studying for a university in Tokyo, but the Hinata Inn where the anime mainly is set is in Kanagawa! It's only one prefecture south of Tokyo after all so not too far, and gives a more rural setting for the anime. Love Hina was popular both in Japan and abroad, with the manga winning a lot of different awards. The anime received a lot of great reviews and topped the charts when it released, and is still enjoyed by people today. It's cute and funny while still being sexy, which appeals to a lot of people and means Love Hina and its hotel setting in Kanagawa is another great and popular addition to the list!


3. Bungou Stray Dogs

  • Episodes: 12
  • Air Date: Apr. 2016 – Jun. 2016

Atsushi Nakajima is an orphan in Bungou Stray Dogs - though the start of the anime sees him kicked out of the orphanage he lives in when he is blamed for the strange incidents happening there. Only Atsushi seems to be able to see the mysterious tiger that is actually causing the problems! Luckily he runs into a detective named Osamu Dazai who is also investigating the mystery tiger, and Atsushi helps him solve the case. The answer they find only leads to more questions, though, and soon Atsushi is a member of a supernatural detective agency that helps the police investigate crimes and incidents that go well beyond the norm.

A newer mystery anime, Bungou Stray Dogs did well upon its release. It has the unique element of each character being named after a famous literary author or character, which gives the anime a cool feature. A supernatural mystery sure to keep you guessing at each turn, Bungou Stray Dogs quickly built up a fan base, and got a second season quite quickly after the first. But what makes it land on our list of the Top 10 Anime Set in Kanagawa? Well, it's set in the biggest, most popular city in the prefecture - Yokohama! You can see the big port city in a very edgy artistic style as the setting for the supernatural mysteries. Yokohama has the charm of being a big city for a setting without being just another anime set in Tokyo, and Bungo Stray Dogs is a lot of fun to watch.


2. Elfen Lied

  • Episodes: 13
  • Air Date: Jul. 2004 – Oct. 2004

Elfen Lied is about Lucy, a Diclonius with telekinetic powers who is the subject of experimentation and torture by the government. Lucy has only known pain and suffering, so when she had the chance to finally escape, she left behind a trail of blood and violence. Lucy didn't escape unscathed though, and the injury she took to her head gave her a split personality. On one hand, she is a violent, unpredictable killer. On the other, she is nothing but a harmless child who struggles to communicate. Lucy finds herself taken in by two college students, but they find themselves involved in a story bigger and darker than they could have ever imagined.

Elfen Lied is also an extremely popular anime that has left behind a famous legacy. It's known especially for being very violent despite Lucy being a cute main character, and for its shocking scenes of nudity and gore. Elfen Lied explores a lot of difficult subjects like social alienation, and the very value of humanity, which sets it apart from just being an average action or science fiction anime. Following the theme of many of the other anime on our list, Elfen Lied takes place in the historical city if Kamakura and nearby Enoshima, with many locations (including the famous steps) matching their real life counterparts. Elfen Lied's legacy and influence on anime today make it an easy choice for the Top 10 Anime Set in Kanagawa.


1. Neon Genesis Evangelion

  • Episodes: 26
  • Air Date: Oct. 1995 – Mar. 1996

Neon Genesis Evangelion takes place in 2015, though one very different from the world as we experienced it that year. Giant creatures called Angels are destroying humanity, and the only thing standing in their way is a new organisation called NERV and their Evangelion units. This units look like giant robots, but are so much more than manmade machines. They can only be truly piloted by those who are able to synchronise with them, and the anime is the story of those pilots. The main character, Shinji Ikari, is only 14 and has never experienced anything like this in his life - Neon Genesis Evangelion is his story of growing up and realising his potential, but the psychological impact the anime has beyond that base storyline is so much more.

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most widely known and successful anime of all time. One can see references to it in all manner of other pop culture, and it still remains a major part of marketing for many products in Japan. Entire stores are dedicated to its exclusive merchandise, and Fuji Q Highlands in Shizuoka Prefecture has an entire section decided to the anime. And while it takes place in a fictional city called Tokyo-3, that city isn't actually in modern Tokyo (which is destroyed in the story). Rather, it's in Hakone, the famed mountainous area of Kanagawa. Neon Genesis Evangelion is probably the best known and most successful anime to take place in Kanagawa even if some people mistakenly think it's in Tokyo, landing it easily in the top spot on our list.


Final Thoughts

If you have never visited or lived in Japan, you might have fallen under the false impression that Kanagawa Prefecture and some of the most famous cities (like Yokohama or Kawasaki) are a part of Tokyo Prefecture. In fact, they are not! Kanagawa Prefecture is located just south of Tokyo, and while it does share a large border with the big city and it's easy to travel on the train between them, they are not the same! Kanagawa is its own Prefecture with its own charms, and it's not fair to simply group it in as being a part of Tokyo. Yokohama is arguably its most famous city, but it has even more to offer. From the beautiful beaches at Enoshima, mountain views in Hakone, rich history in Kamakura, and more, Kanagawa shouldn't be forgotten as a unique and special part of Japan.

When it comes to anime, of course many of them are based in Tokyo. But did you know there are plenty of great anime that take place in Kanagawa as well? Some of the most famous and well-loved anime ever actually take place in this prefecture - and you might not even realise that's the setting! So what anime can you watch that are set in areas like Yokohama, Kawasaki, Kamakura, Hakone, and more? Read on to find out on our list of the Top 10 Anime Set in Kanagawa!

Jet Nebula

Writer

Author: Jet Nebula

Living the dream in Tokyo, where you can find me working at a theme café catered towards women. When I’m not writing for Honey’s, I’m working on original dystopian science fiction or blogging about Tokyo’s trendy coffee scene. I spend my free time in Harajuku and Shibuya wearing alternative Japanese street fashion. I love video games, J-rock, tattoos, and Star Wars.

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