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    The best anime places to visit in Tokyo, Japan

    The best anime places to visit in Tokyo, Japan

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    Japan is the birthplace of anime and manga culture, which celebrates the distinctive Japanese style of animation and illustration. From Astro Boy to Zoro, these are our favourite must-see locations and experiences in Tokyo (Japan) for anime and manga fans:

    1. Studio Ghibli Museum, Koganei, Tokyo

    A visit to this museum is a chance to step into the worlds created by the legendary filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki in much-loved anime classics such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Along with a rich collection of original artwork, sketches, and animation cels from Studio Ghibli films, you’ll find themed exhibits that delve into the themes, characters, and inspirations behind the films.

    Get a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process, then watch original short films from Studio Gibli, featuring favourite Ghibli characters, that were created exclusively for showing in the museum. The museum’s exhibits were designed to be explored, so you can climb aboard a life-sized replica of the airship from Castle in the Sky while the kids board the Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro.

    2. Sanrio Puroland, Tama New Town, Tokyo

    This indoor theme park attracts more than 1.5 million visitors each year with its themed rides, live entertainment and character meet and greet experiences, all of which are themed around the much-loved assortment of Sanrio characters. Most famous of these is Hello Kitty, who appears throughout the park alongside friends like My Melody, Cinnamonroll and Gudetama.

    You can shop for Sanrio-themed plush toys or stationery in the park’s gift boutiques, enjoy Sanrio-inspired treats at a variety of restaurants and cafes and enjoy the colourful whimsy of a park that’s an all-out celebration of an iconic anime brand.

    3. Akihabara, Tokyo

    akihabara tokyo japan

    Otaku is the Japanese subculture that is centred on fandom and pop culture: especially anime, manga, video games, cos play and merchandise. The Tokyo district of Akihabara is considered the heart of otaku culture: it’s packed with shops and game arcades where you can shop for video games, collectibles, trading cards and comic books.

    If you’re a fan of Steins;Gate, you’ll find many of the real life locations featured in the popular sci-fi series here, including Akihabara Station, Tokyo Times Tower and Yanagimori Shrine. You won’t find the time machine created by the series’ protagonist/mad scientist, Rintaro Okabe, but you can visit one of the district’s many maid cafes (many of which are themed around anime culture), where he and his friends hang out when they’re not immersed in the mysteries of time travel.

    4. Ikebukuro, Tokyo

    Ikebukuro is a close second to Akihabara when it comes to all things anime and manga. The Pokémon Center Mega is located within the vast shopping and entertainment complex of Sunshine City, and it’s the fantastic place to add to your collection of official merchandise while mingling with other fans of the multi-media Pokémon franchise. The store houses an immense collection of Pokémon soft toys, collectible figurines, stationery and trading cards, as well as a Pokemon GO Lab and the Pikachu Sweets Café. Be sure to allow enough time to visit the observation deck on the 60th floor of the Sunshine 60 building for incredible views of Toyko and beyond.

    It’s a short walk from here to the Animate flagship store, which is officially the World’s Largest Anime store. You can shop until you drop amidst ten floors of anime and manga heaven, as well as a cinema and café.

    The newly opened Anime Tokyo Station was created by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to promote and celebrate the world of anime. As well as offering regular events and exhibitions, it houses a collection of more than 500,000 items of artworks, videos, cels and audio, along with early versions of scripts and drawings.

    5. One Piece, Tokyo

    One of the world’s most beloved manga series and now a wide-ranging media franchise, One Piece follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his crew, the Straw Hat Crew (aka the mugiwara pirates). Although set in a fantasy world, you can dive into the realm of One Piece with a visit to one of Japan’s Mugiwara stores, the largest of which is located a stone’s throw from the controlled mayhem of Shibuya’s iconic Scramble Crossing.

    For true devotees, a visit to Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu is a must. In the aftermath of the devastating 2016 earthquakes, the creator of One Piece, Eiichiro Oda, donated ¥800 million (around AU$7.8 million) to his hometown’s recovery efforts, including ¥500 million in Luffy’s name. As part of the region’s recovery, and as a gesture of thanks, the prefecture has begun installing bronze statues of One Piece characters throughout the region, providing the ideal origin story for a One Piece-inspired treasure hunt of your own.

    6. Sailor Moon, Azabu-Juban, Tokyo

    The adventures of Japanese schoolgirl, Usagi Tsukino, began as a beloved manga series before being adapted into a variety of animated works including an anime series and several anime films. Usagi can transform into Sailor Moon – a guardian of the Earth – with the help of a magical brooch which she was given by a talking black cat. She is one of the most recognisable characters in anime culture, and an eternally popular figure in the world of cosplay.

    There are countless locations around Tokyo where you can follow in her footsteps, many of them in the high-end shopping and residential district of Azabu-Juban, which stands in for Usagi’s home district of Jupan. Hikawa Shrine is a stand-in for the shrine where Usagi and her grandfather live and work, while the Junior High School in neighbouring Roppongi provided the inspiration for her school.

    Toei Animation Studio created the animation for both Sailor Moon and One Piece, as well as many other anime series, and a visit to the Toei Animation Museum is a must for anyone eager to take a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making them.

    7. Nakano Broadway, Nakano City, Tokyo

    This multi-storey shopping destination is a must-visit location if you’re a fan of anime, manga and pop culture – especially if you’re hoping to get your hands on rare, vintage or limited-edition memorabilia and merchandise. It’s packed with a variety of speciality anime stores that cater to various fandoms, from Attack on Titan to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Cowboy Bebop to Dragon Ball Z.

    There’s a more laid-back vibe here compared with the bustle of Akihabara, so you can take your time exploring the eclectic assortment of stores and enjoying the pop-up character appearances, while meeting fellow fans and immersing yourself in otaku culture.

    8. Amusement Parks, Tokyo

    Japan is home to numerous amusement parks dedicated to all things anime and manga.

    If you’re a fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion, which is considered one of the greatest anime series of all time, you can measure your EVA synchronization score and go through the Entry Plug boarding test at Toei Kyoto Studio Park. At Tokyo’s Small Worlds Museum, you can explore a miniaturised version of the Evangelion Hangar and the rebuilt world of TOKYO-III.

    Forget streaming services and online shopping – the best way to dive into the world of anime and manga culture is to visit its birthplace, Japan. To make your otaku-inspired holiday ideas come to life, talk to one of our travel experts.


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