If you are an anime and manga lover, then Japan would definitely be the best place to visit. Anime and manga are a big and important part of Japan that have attracted millions of fans to the Land of the Rising Sun. Fans would love to spend time and embrace the culture in many different attractions throughout Japan.
What are the notable anime and manga attractions to visit in Japan?
There are so many anime and manga attractions that bring visitors from all over the world. In this article, I would like to introduce you to some of the best anime and manga attractions that I think would be very interesting and enjoyable for you!
1. Ghibli Museum
Located on the edge of Tokyo’s Inokashira Park, the Ghibli Museum is a multi-storied mansion full of different themes according to each of the anime to recreate the world and atmosphere of the Studio Ghibli universe. The name “Ghibli” is from the Italian word for a hot desert wind (Ghibli), and it was Hayao Miyazaki’s dream that the newfound studio would “blow a new wind through the anime industry.” Famous for various anime that successfully captured every little details that represent real-life no matter what kind of magical or imaginary things that happen in the story, Studio Ghibli has ever since ‘breathed new life into anime’ and attracted thousands of visitors. The Ghibli Museum is dedicated to the studio’s work – the stories, the characters, the environments, as well as to illuminate the mechanics and the processes surrounding these types of animation. There are many references to the lovable films within the museum that will definitely make the fans interested and excited. But you don’t have to be a Studio Ghibli fan to appreciate the amazing artistry on display, or be completely charmed by the exhibits!
The Ghibli Museum has multiple special exhibitions throughout the year. And some of the exhibitions would make great experiences such as the ‘Painting the Colors of Our Films’, ‘Animating Memorable Meals’ and also new animated shorts would also be shown at the Museum.
Because of the popularity of the studio, tickets are usually sold out very quickly so you need to book the ticket in advance. The tickets usually go on sale one or two months in advance but there are different ways to get tickets such as through convenience store (Lawson) and various websites (GoVoyagin). In addition, you can purchase tickets from the Japan Tourism Board, which is a popular Japanese travel agency with offices around the world. One last option is to purchase a tour that has Ghibli Museum included in that tour so that you will still get to enjoy it.
2. Fujiko·F·Fujio Museum
Fujiko F Fujio is the man behind the world-wide and beloved Japanese manga as well as animation named Doraemon. Fujiko F Fujio Museum (藤子・F・不二雄ミュージアム) or also known as the Doraemon Museum is located in Kawasaki, right outside of Tokyo, the museum is showcasing many of the fantastic work of Fujiko, the main featured theme is, of course, Doraemon including the original artworks, animations, and short films. Doraemon has been around for decades and still remains extremely popular today for both grownups and children. Even though the museum is aimed at children, it also appeals to adults who grew up with the series. While it is not very large and diverse, it has a really extensive collection of Fujiko F. Fujio’s work, including his original artworks from Doraemon, 21-emon, Kaibutsukun, and several of Fujiko’s other series. One notable aspect is that an excellent English audio guide is included with admission and has a lot of commentary on Fujiko’s life and the various artwork on display. Another part of the museum is more focused on small children. It features a theater displaying some original short films, a manga reading room, and several activities and playrooms. There are also a few life-size statues of Doraemon characters, that you can touch and take pictures with, they can be are found outside around the museum grounds. There is also a cafe that sells Doraemon themed dishes, and a well-stocked gift shop with character goods from Doraemon and Fujiko’s other series. Tickets for Fujiko F Fujio Museum can be bought from Lawson convenience stores within Japan by using their Loppi automatic ticket machines. Tickets go on sale one month in advance starting on the 30th of each month. The Fujiko F. Fujio Museum is most easily accessed from Noborito Station.
3. Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo
If there is one thing which draws out-of-town visitors, especially those with young kids, to Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, it is the Pokemon Center Mega, the largest Pokemon shop in Japan. Sunshine City is a large shopping complex in the northern part of Tokyo. It has indoor theme parks, a Gyoza stadium and even an aquarium on its rooftop. Yet, one of its biggest attractions is a store on the third floor – the Pokemon Center Mega. From the outside, the Pokemon store at Sunshine City is unmistakable. A Solgaleo and Lunala stand at the store entrance to welcome in visitors. Inside, there are tons of Pokemon merchandise that will make the die-hard fan want to get their wallet out. Open since the end of 2014, this mega-shop offers the biggest selection of Pokemon goods in Japan, including lots of limited-edition items. You’ll find everything from Pokemon-themed ramen, curry and candies to tableware, slippers, and stationery. There are also a few arcade games at the front of the store. The store’s aisles are wide, and it feels spacious in spite of the crowds. There is a hairband with Pikachu ears, Pikachu t-shirts, sweaters, stationery, bags, and much more merch. Beside the regular-looking Pikachus, the Pokemon Center Mega at Sunshine City also sells variants of Pikachus, dressed up in various costumes.
There are also plenty of Pokemon that you can find at the store. Whether it be an Eevee you are after, a Charizard, a Snorlax or a Greninja, you are most like to find it at the Pokemon Center Mega. Pokemon cards are available too. The downside to having tons of Pokemon merchandise is that you can almost always expect a long line at the checkout counters. But if you have come all the way to look for Pokemon, it is well worth the wait. Even if you don’t want to get anything, a trip to the Pokemon Center Mega will reward you with an opportunity some awesome Pokemon sculptures around the store. The Pokemon Center Mega at Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, Tokyo is a must-visit for any Pokemon fan. Besides the retail store, the Pokemon Center Mega also has an area for fans to play the trading card games.
When in Tokyo, Pokemon fans, head down to the Pokemon Center Mega to catch ‘em all. Alternatively, another Pokemon store in Tokyo is the large Pokemon Center Tokyo DX (with an adjacent Pokemon cafe) at Takashimaya in Nihonbashi. This opened in March 2018. There is also a smaller Pokemon Center at Lalaport Tokyo Bay shopping center and another at Skytree Town.
One of the most popular districts in Tokyo, Akihabara is known as the paradise for electronic products and geek culture. They say anything related to Otaku culture can be found in Akihabara such as Anime, Gaming, Manga, figures, underground idols, etc. Stores like Mandarake and Animate are hugely popular as a wide variety of product range and many rare items can be found. Maid Cafe is the most bizarre culture originated in Akihabara, Tokyo. Maid Cafe is where maids serve guests in cute frilly costumes and call you “Master”(goshujin-sama). Numbers of Maid Cafes are located in the Akihabara area, and it’s one of the top attractions in Tokyo for the past years. In addition, Mandarake, another famous attraction, is called “the largest manga and anime store in the world”, dealing with secondhand items related to manga, anime, game, dolls etc and loads of rare items which you can probably find only in Mandrake. Moreover, Gundam is a famous robot animation from Japan and popular all over the world. At the Gundam Cafe, you can enjoy themed food and beverages. One of the best ways to explore Akihabara’s deep Otaku culture in one day is joining a guided local tour! “Anime and Gaming Adventure Tour in Akihabara” by Magical Trip is a popular half-day tour introducing some classic and hidden Otaku spots by a local guide! The tour also takes you to one of the famous Maid Cafes in Akihabara!
5. Nakano Broadway
For these past few decades, Akihabara 秋葉原 aka Akiba has been recognized as the only one center for Japanese pop-culture and otaku culture since the massive renovation and development of this district in the 2000s. More and more international and domestic visitors come to this area formerly associated with electronics and geek culture prior to the turn of the century. However, Akihabara is no longer a single destination for anime and manga lovers. Nakano Broadway 中野ブロードウェイ is becoming more and more popular with anime and manga lovers as another Mecca for Japanese pop-culture and subculture in the 2010s. Although this shopping complex bears the name of ‘broadway,’ this is not that kind of place where you can enjoy theatrical performances or popular musicals as in NY’s Broadway. In Nakano Broadway, there are four levels of shopping areas. Probably, the second and third floors are the main purpose for most anime geeks and collectors of all kinds. The ground level and basement level provides you with clothes, daily essentials, and groceries. It might be interesting to check out these floors as well. MANDARAKE Honten, the original MANDARAKE store in Nakano Broadway, is located on the third floor. It is no exaggeration to say that the selection of both new and old manga in MANDARAKE Honten is one of the best in Tokyo. MANDARAKE Special 2 located on the third floor focuses on anime figures and stuffed characters. They sell not only JUMP anime character figures such as Goku from DRAGON BALL and Ryoma Echizen from The Prince of Tennis but also Disney characters such as Duffy and ShellieMay. MANDARAKE Special 3 also located on the third floor brought back some memories. This third MANDARAKE branch exclusively sells Japanese superhero such as Sentai Hero 戦隊ヒーロー, which became the origin of foreign superhero like Power Rangers in the US. Last but not least, you can buy animation cells and anime scripts on the fourth floor of Nakano Broadway. In modern time, the anime industry does not utilize cels anymore. But for those who grew up with old anime in the 80s and 90s, these original manuscripts will certainly bring back some memories.
6. Other anime and manga attractions we recommend in Japan
Gundam is one of the most popular animations in Japanese history, which originally started its broadcast nearly 40 years ago. The gigantic statue of Gundam has been standing in front of DiverCity Tokyo as a symbol of the Odaiba area. The current statue is a second model which is replaced in 2017, called Unicorn Gundam. Next, to the statue, there is a Gundam themed cafe offering special food and beverage in Gundam theme.
Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Pompompurin, etc.. Sanrio has created numbers of characters beloved in Japan and abroad. Sanrio Puroland is their one and only amusement park where visitors can enjoy themed attractions, games, shows, shops and restaurants. Several seasonal events are held throughout the year such as Halloweens and Christmas and you can find your favorite characters in special costumes as well as limited goods.
The Suginami Animation Museum introduces the history of Japanese animation, exhibits the anime-making process, and screens a selection of Japanese animations in its theater. Including permanent exhibits on the history, basics, and future of Japanese anime, along with special exhibitions and an anime library, this is a great destination for avid fans of the art form.
If you love the “Neon Genesis Evangelion” series, Fuji Q Highland, an amusement park in Yamanashi, operates a pavilion called “Evangelion World.” Much like Disney’s parks in California and Florida, this park allows visitors to immerse themselves in the world of Evangelion with rides, characters, and gifts galore.
I hope that this article helped you learn more about the anime and manga attractions in Japan. Now that you have more information, it is time to decide which one to pay a visit or better yet, explore all of them. And if you are still wondering or have any other questions about Japan, then please check out our website ‘Guidable’ for more information!