With the latest reveals of Persona 5’s enhanced PS4 re-release Persona 5 Royal, Atlus showcased a new relevant location which is being added to the game, Kichijoji.
The addition of Kichijoji probably isn’ very surprising for anyone who knows Tokyo. It’s a popular neighborhood known for its young atmosphere, its rich traditional shopping streets, and plenty of attractions both during the day and the evening, whether you’re on your own, with friends, or with your significant other.
If anything, it’s surprising that it wasn’t included in the original game to begin with.
Persona 5 is known for a rather realistic (even if not fully true-to-life) representation of Tokyo. By walking around the game’s locations you can find well-known landmarks like the green train car converted into an information office in Shibuya and many more.
It goes without saying that the same care for detail went into the implementation of Kichijoji. Below you can see a video showcasing the new location compared to its real-life counterpart in western Tokyo.
Let’s take a look at some relevant pictures (all the gameplay footage and images included in this article come from the recent trailer, screenshots, and videos, while the real-life photos were shot by yours truly) and examine similarities and differences.
First and foremost, we see the entrance of Kichijoji Sun Road Shopping District, which is the most popular shotengai (traditional shopping street) in the area.
As you can see, everything is nearly identical. It’s impressive how the developers actually reproduced even the color of the billboards while changing the names.
In Japan, you’d have to ask for permission to every single business owner in order to include the real names. Obviously, that wasn’t considered a worthwhile pursuit in this case.
Interestingly, “Sun Road” has been renamed into “Sanpo Road.” “Sanpo” in Japanese means “stroll.” Even the sign in Japanese under the big billboard says respectively “Kichijoji Sun Road Shotengai” and “Kichijoji Sanpo Road Shotengai.”
As an additional bonus, the big billboard in the real-world image celebrates the new Reiwa Era started at the beginning of May 2019 with the crowning of the new Emperor.
The third picture (from Google Maps) shows how outside of special occasions, the billboard actually displays a mascot character very similar to the one displayed in the game.
To the left of the billboard, you’ll see in blue the sign of a second shotengai that branches off the entrance of Sun Road/Sanpo Road in an L-shape. In the real world, it’s called “Daiya-Gai” (“Daiya” means “Diamond”), while in the game, it’s named “Platinum-Gai.”
As Persona 5’s hero goes deeper into “Sanpo Road” we notice something interesting, as you can see below.
As we turn into a side street, we notice a store selling meat with a long line in front of it. That’s most definitely a reference to a real-life shop named Satou in the middle of Daiya-Gai.
The store isn’t identical in appearance, but it’s similar enough to be recognizable even thanks to its corner position on a side street. It attracts massive lines of customers daily due to its delicious beef menchi-katsu (a ground meat cutlet), which is a must-have for those who visit Kichijoji.
It’s basically the only local store that draws this kind of lines, for a very good reason. If you happen to drop by, try the menchi-katsu, and you’ll understand what I mean.
The area beyond the side street appears very different from that side of Daya Road, but a very recognizable building solves the puzzle.
The entrance of Gessoji Temple isn’t on Daiya-Gai, but it’s actually about halfway through Sun Road.
While it’s difficult to draw a conclusion before we see more, it appears that the developers at Atlus felt that fully modeling both shotengai was redundant, so they mashed them into one, mixing and matching the most iconic landmarks from both. That’s why Satou is on the same street as Gessoji Temple.
Another Kochijoji location is briefly showcased in the videos, and its looks and atmosphere are absolutely unmistakable.
It’s Harmonica Yokocho, a relatively small but iconic maze of alleyways branching off the entrance of Daya-Gai. It’s full of small bars, eateries, and pubs, and lit by lanterns, known as a bustling focus for the local nightlife.
If you’d like to have a drink with friends, you can’t go wrong with a counter seat here.
Sanpo Road isn’t the only location we’ll visit in Kichijoji. There is another, even if it isn’t completely new. In the original Persona 5, we visit Inokashira Park as a hangout location.
As you can see below, in Persona 5 Royal it’ll be the destination of additional events as the students of Shujin Academy drop by in their P.E. uniforms.
From the dialogue, we can discern that they’re there to help clean the park from the trash left by visitors and tourists, which is something schools and even companies often volunteer their students and employees to do periodically in Japan.
As you can see in the images below, the park is reproduced quite faithfully, down to having the same signs discouraging visitors to cross the fences. Even the paths show an identical layout with asphalt surrounded by tiled walkways.
Inokashira Park is a very popular spot for those who want to relax, walk their dogs, or go on a date. It includes a zoo (even if that’s not as popular as the one in Ueno), and a pond with the iconic rental boats that you’ve probably seen in a gazillion of anime series and games.
Ultimately, it appears that Persona 5 Royal is ready to provide us with another taste of a rather realistic Tokyo.
If you want to see more, we recently saw new gameplay featuring the Hatsumode visit to the shrine on New Year, the reaction of the fans to the recent trailer, quite a few screenshots of the game, on top of a few more gameplay videos. We also got an overview of the new content, and a version of the trailer subtitled in English.