The Garden of Words (言の葉の庭) is a luscious animated film made in 2013 by Makoto Shinkai. Much of the story is set in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden where, on rainy mornings, the protagonist continues to mysteriously run in to an older woman.
Tokyo and its park are beautifully portrayed throughout the film as rain and gardens prove to be reoccurring motifs. What’s also stunning is the attention to detail that Shinkai takes in recreating his picturesque version of Tokyo. But the film’s accuracy wasn’t fully appreciated until a series of stills from the film were compared to actual photographs.
A series of side-by-side comparisons (the top image is a still from the film while the bottom is a photograph) reveal the extent to which Shinkai and his team went to accurately depict Tokyo. Even small details like lettering on signs, antennas on top of buildings and the curvature of tree branches were accurately recreated.
Unfortunately, it’s unclear where these photos came from, and whether or not there was any digital manipulation. Were they shot by the film team and then used to make the film? Or did a fan actually have the patience to wait for the traffic light to change so that the scene would be captured more accurately?
Kotaku notes that the images originally surfaced on this Korean meme website, and then again on this semi-NSFW Japanese site called Nijipoi. We have a lot of questions about these but we’re sure of one thing: Tokyo and Shinjuku Gyoen are indeed this gorgeous.