When Persona 5 was released in 2017, it certainly took the world by storm; despite being a story that is very deeply Japanese, its themes, music, and style resonated deeply with worldwide audiences.
While not necessarily the most accurate depiction of Japanese highschool life (what with the spirit monsters and mind dungeons, which are fortunately not a feature of the real Tokyo), the game’s portrayal of Tokyo’s culture and geography is surprisingly accurate, at least from an outsider’s perspective.
The locations in particular are fairly accurate representations of their real world counterparts.
The name “Yongenjaya” is a pun on the real world neighborhood of Sangenjaya, with “san” meaning three and “yon” meaning four. Sangenjaya is an area full of small cafes, bars, and izakayas (japanese-style bars), as well as smaller houses and apartment buildings.
In-game, you can see the main street of the area from one of the protagonists’ homes; while most houses in the real world are a bit farther from that street, the rest of the map is a fairly close representation of the cluster of tiny shops, cafes, and apartment buildings that litter the area.
The area is quite famous for its older drinking district, where many restaurants and bars/izakayas exist in close proximity to each other. Their exclusion is understandable, as you play as a minor, but real-world tourists and locals would do well to check out any of the many local drinking spots, as it’s hard to find a bad time there with friends.
2. Shibuya （渋谷）
The game’s portrayal of Shibuya and the crossing station are startling accurate, even down to the locations of the different gates and train lines. It’s accurate enough that those familiar with the real-world station can easily find their way around in-game; the developers clearly put a lot of love and care into their recreation.
Additionally, the road off the scramble is eminently recognizable despite the shops being completely different; the architecture and cityscape are immediately noticeable to any who have seen the street upon which it is based. In fact, one of the Phantom Thieves’ hideouts is a walkway in the building shared by the Ginza Line’s gate, and the eagle-eyed can spot it while they transfer between trains.
3. Shinjuku （新宿）
The game takes far more liberties with the layout of Shinjuku, though what it seemed to really aim for was capturing the feeling of the sleazier Kabukicho district, which is filled with Girls’ Bars, or bars where patrons go to drink and spend time in the company of hostesses, or women paid to drink with and entertain customers.
As many characters say in-game, it’s definitely not a place for highschoolers, and the neon lights and abundance of bars translate the distinctive feeling of the nightlife district.
Kichijoji was an area added in the enhanced re-release Persona 5 Royal. Kichijoji is a shopping district with a famous roofed area, well known for its variety of foods and shops.
The covered area is pretty faithfully recreated, though Kichijoji is not the only area of Tokyo where such a covered shopping area exists; notably, there is another near Senso-ji on the opposite side of the city, a location that can also be visited in the game.
There are many other locations in the game, but the ones listed above are the main, explorable areas. It’s very clear that the developers at ATLUS have an abiding love for the city; but even clearer than that is the fact that if the next Persona game pays even half as much attention to detail as Persona 5, then gamers everywhere are in for a real treat.
About Our Apartment
Our apartments are located in Shinjuku, one of the most vibrant area of Tokyo. The nearest stations are Higashi-Shinjuku Station (Fukutoshin/ Toei Subway Oedo line), Shin-Okubo Station (JR Yamanote), and Okubo Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line).
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