This file discusses the various areas and locations around the grid, and their locations in relation to one another.
Sumaru City is a large metropolitan area in Japan, effectively replacing Kobe it its precise location within the Hyougo region of Japan, and boasts a population of 1.2 million. It includes six main wards as well as several cities and towns within its boundaries, and borders on the Inner Sea. Further information on the wards and other areas of Sumaru can be found below.
Notable geography of Sumaru City includes the Tanabata River, which cuts the city nearly in half. To the northwest is the tall peak of Mount Mifune, and a smaller mountain called Iwato can be found in the central island section of Rengedai Ward. Parks provide much of the greenery and wild places, mountains aside, in the wards and cities of Sumaru. Within the suburban towns, there is more foliage and open landscape, but not as much as a country town.
Ancient history claims that Sumaru City was founded in the Sengoku period by a warlord named Kiyotada Sumaru. Little evidence beyond some fragmented stories exists to verify or disprove the tale, but it has been a popular one throughout the ages.
The history of Sumaru City in recent decades has largely been uneventful on a national scale; unlike real world history, Sumaru did not suffer an earthquake in 1995 like Kobe did. Disturbances are typical for a major city when they occur, and things seemingly proceed as they should to the eyes of the outside world.
However, beneath the surface, Sumaru City is a hotbed of supernatural activity. Demons lurk in many dark corners of the metropolitan area. Many conspiracies are had, and invisible wars are waged on the streets of the city. Rumors can become real here, much to the detriment or benefit of those who master their powers. There are impossible hours and even alternate worlds to be had, all dangerous threats to the unwary. Sumaru City is dangerous, and it is a blessing that most remain unaware of just what threats it can level at them.
The central ward of Sumaru City, and also the smallest and oldest of the wards, Rengedai consists of both the island in the middle of the Tanabata River and some of the coastline circling it on the opposite banks. Rengedai is mainly a middle-to-high class residential area, with some commercial districts and municipal buildings to be found. Industry and corporate offices are unheard of here. Typically, things are more peaceful here than in other parts of the city, but crime isn't unheard of.
A few notable locations here include Seven Sisters High School (See Schools for further information on it), Honmaru Park, and Araya Shrine. Honmaru Park is a large park on the western end of the central island. Once closed due to an archaeological discovery, it has reopened, though some dig sites are still off-limits and no word has come about what they found. Araya Shrine is a much-used local shrine on the foothills of Mount Iwato in the central island region that was destroyed in a fire in the summer of 1999. It has since been rebuilt.
Hirasaka is the northern-most ward of Sumaru City, and is where the bulk of the lower-class shopping and housing can be found within the city. Some office and corporate buildings round out Hirasaka. While far from crime-free, the ward is hardly a slum, and many generations of hard-working people have proudly raised their children and owned businesses in the area. There are very few industries in Hirasaka.
A few notable locations in Hirasaka Ward include the boys-only Kasugayama High (see Schools for more information on it), as well as the popular shopping district of Kameya Alley. Smile Hirasaka, a mall and apartment complex, has also become particularly popular since its reopening following its complete destruction as a result of a terrorist attack.
Yumezaki Ward sits as the northeast ward of Sumaru, and is predominantly devoted to various aspects of the entertainment industry. As such, prices tend to run higher in Yumezaki, particularly where housing is concerned; the apartments here scale to the upper-middle class and above. No factories can be found in Yumezaki, and non-entertainment/recreational businesses and institutions, while they do exist, are the exception rather than the rule.
Notable locations within Yumezaki include the stand-out nightclub Club Zodiac, which is the subject of several whispered rumors. Few realize that it is in reality a secret office for the shadowy New World Order. Gold Gym, rebuilt since its destruction, is a popular fitness center in the city, while Yumezaki Municipal Hospital stands as one of the best medical facilities in Sumaru.
A disconnected pocket of the Dark Hour exists here, and can be found by those who are able to experience it each and every midnight. Shadows are weaker here, and demonic presence predominates. Please see Dark Hour for more information.
Of all the wards, Aoba concerns itself most with the media. Many businesses in this ward are concerned in some way with the media, whether it's through the news, publishing, programming, or electronic communication. Far more commercial than most, some housing does exist in Aoba, though aside from the student dorms, it is firmly middle-class and upwards.
Aside from Aoba Drive, a road famous for the quality of shopping found there, other areas of note within Aoba Ward include Aoba Park to the west, and the recently-rebuilt concert hall within it. Sumaru University can be found in this ward (see Schools for more information on it), along with its associated student housing. Sumaru's TV station also has a home in this ward.
Once, Konan was devoted to being Sumaru City's port and the heart of its industrial complex. As things have changed, though, the ward has started to shift away from industry, though the port remains busy. Lower-cost housing, due to its proximity to the ocean, has resulted in the ward seeing unprecedented growth, and increasingly, it has begun to shift towards becoming more of a cultural center.
Standout locations include the popular Aerospace Museum, following its rebuilding after a terrorist attack. Other museums can also be found throughout Konan Ward. The headquarters for the Sumaru police force can also be found in this ward. Ebisu Beach, to the south, exists as a popular destination for families and lovers.
The southern-most ward, much of the landmass of Narumi Ward is artificial, as it was created to address land concerns decades ago. Narumi Ward mainly caters to the wealthy and corporate establishments, with the homes, hotels, and shopping districts of Sumaru's monied elite found to the south while corporate offices and research buildings are found to the north. Very little is inexpensive in much of Narumi Ward, and it is here where rich tourists come to stay, particularly at the luxuriant Hotel Pleiades.
North of Sumaru City stands Mount Mifune, nicknamed 'Katatsumuri' ('snail') by the locals for its snail-like shape. Heavily forested, it is difficult (and ill-advised) to traverse much of the mountain save where there have been trails blazed by others. Rumor has it that even compasses fail to work within the thicker forests upon the mountain, and there are many old tales about people becoming lost, typically at the hands of spirits, within the forests and never heard from again.
A cablecar provides access to a point half-way up the mountain. Closer to the peak stands a Zen Buddhist temple called 'Gouketsuji', which practices an ancient martial arts form called Mokujinken, unique to the monks of that temple. It is said that their founder developed the art. On the lower slopes and reachable by a paved road is Morimoto Sanitarium, which is an institution dedicated to mental health services.
Though its real name is Mikage-cho, the vicinity of a nearby US military base and the general popularity of English within Japan have made the nickname 'Lunarvale' popular for the town to the point where it's all-but-overriden the proper name in most discourse.
The ancient history of Lunarvale is spotty, but some evidence suggests that the town is older than Rengedai Ward itself, with estimates placing the earliest founding sometime at oldest in the Kofun period. More recent history, from post-Sengoku onwards, has more in the way of tangible records, and aside from a few disturbances now and then, it seems that Lunarvale has generally been peaceful.
These days, Lunarvale is mainly residential and low-impact commercial businesses, generally concentrated in the First and Third Districts, though there are a few thriving industries in its Second District. Of note, Lunarvale was also home to the regional branch headquarters of SEBEC, the Saeki Electronics & Biological & Energy Corporation, which received national attention when it was destroyed and the branch manager died, though it has since been rebuilt.
Lunarvale is also host to the alternate dimension world of Mikage-cho. More information on it can be found in Mikage-cho.
One of the cities of Sumaru, Tatsumi-shi, also popularly referred to as 'Tatsumi Port Island' or simply 'Port Island' for its large artificial landmass, is a bustling metropolitan area in its own right. Most major businesses in this part of Sumaru have some connection with the Kirijo Corporation. Housing and industry of varying types can be found alongside a wide range of cultural and municipal buildings.
Locations of note within Tatsumi-shi include Gekkoukan High School (see Schools for more information on it). Paulownia Mall is a popular shopping destination, while on the mainland, the Naganaki Shrine is a very popular among students of all ages. Tatsumi-shi is also home to one of the best-known hospitals in this part of Japan, Tatsumi Memorial Hospital.
Every midnight, the mainland and artificial island experience the phenomenon known as the Dark Hour. For more information, please see Dark Hour.
Located in the countryside, Inaba, or 'Yaso-Inaba' as it was once known, is one of Japan's many rural towns. Once a coal mining town, that industry left Inaba for good decades ago. Only the arrival of the major department store Junes in 2009 has disrupted the relatively sleepy existence of the town since then. The closed-off tunnels of the mines can still be found in the hillsides, far from the floodplains of the Samegawa river that cuts through Inaba.
Much of Inaba is devoted to small-scale local business and residential areas, with the bulk of the attention the town receives coming from tourists to the famous Amagi Inn. Housing typically ranges from upper-lower class to upper-middle class, though outliers can be found on both ends. The town, while still firmly 'rural living', has seen an influx of outside businesses since Junes, and it's difficult to say what lies ahead for Inaba's future.
Places of note aside from the department store of Junes include Yasogami High (see Schools for more information on it), the local police department, the Amagi Inn itself, and the old shopping district, the last of which has continued to do business in spite of more than a few long-time stores closing their doors.
Located outside the boundaries of Sumaru City, Okina City is a smaller municipal area that is host to a well-connected train station. Connections can be had from here to cities across the country, including many of the small rural towns. Shopping and other commercial-oriented industries, along with a few apartment complexes, are typical across Okina City. Most things available here are solidly in the 'affordable' range.
Every midnight, Okina experiences a version of the Dark Hour. For more information, please see Dark Hour.