Friday, January 12, 2018

Sakuragaoka Park in Real Life | Shenmue Realism

Sakuragaoka Park in Real Life

The recent Shenmue "Sacred Spot" Guide Map published by Yokosuka City highlights several real-life places of interest around Yokosuka and Dobuita that feature in, or served as inspiration, to the setting of Shenmue I.

Featured in the guide is a small park called Odakicho Park which is located not too far from Dobuita Street. We present our findings that strongly suggest that it served as inspiration for not just Suzume Park as mentioned in the guide, but for that second well-known park in the game as well.
Odakicho Park is the small park highlighted at the right-hand side of the map of the Dobuita area.
Odakicho Park is the small park highlighted at the right-hand side of the map of the Dobuita area.


Similarities with Suzume Park


The guide notes that the park is positioned next to a flight of steps nearby that lead up to the residential area, drawing a parallel with Suzume Park in the game. (It is also at the end of a short road, as in the game).

Suzume Park notes (Shenmue Guide Map)

The steps that lead up from Odakicho Park to the residential area of Midorigaoka.
Steps near Odakicho Park which lead up to the residential area of Midorigaoka.


The Inspiration for a Second Park?


In fact, this park holds another secret.

Consider the the visual appearance of Odakicho Park in the photo below. Does a second park from the game spring instantly to mind? (Hint: Ryo may have spent some awkward moments next to Nozomi on the bench here.)

Odakicho Park
Odakicho Park

The similarities with Sakuragaoka Park (shortened to "Sakura Park" in the English version of the game) in Shenmue are striking.

The style of the swing equipment in particular is almost identical, down to the low protective barrier that surrounds it. A wooden bench and slide are positioned nearby, just as in the game.

Comparison Images


Aligning the angles of in-game screenshots and photos, the similarities become even more evident:

Sakuragaoka Park in the game (left) and Odakicho Park (right).
Sakuragaoka Park in the game (left) and Odakicho Park (right).

The swings from the opposite side; the slide can be seen in the background in both the game & photo.
The swings from the opposite side; the slide can be seen in the background in both the game & photo.
The main differences are that the real-life park is more spacious than the one in the game, and it is in a different setting: where Sakuragaoka Park in the game is set up in the hills above Dobuita and surrounded by greenery, the real-life park is below in the urban district. (Oh, and both swings in the real park are in working order, unlike the one in the game where one has a broken seat).

You can find Odakicho Park down the short road that has "Nozomi's" flower shop on its corner. If you ever receive a message asking you to meet Nozomi at the park, now you know where to go!

Odakicho Park

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2 comments:

  1. If you ever happen to see an elderly lady sitting on the swing looking lost, be sure to ask her if she needs any help. She could be looking for the Yamamoto's house and the guy that was supposed to be helping her has left her and gone to look for sailors.

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    Replies
    1. Haha, very true! That's the youth of today... er, 1986 for ya.

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