When visiting Japan, it’s hard not to see the influence Anime has had on the media culture in the country. The medium is one of its most marketable and widely known forms of entertainment, and their tourism industry knows it.
Come along on the quest to see the 20 most iconic locations in Japan for anime fans, big and small.
The rest of this article is going to delve into the best places for anime fans to flex their fandom muscles and enjoy all the fruits of the media that Japan has to offer.
Akihabara is a district of Tokyo located in central Tokyo. It is known for its electronic shops but over the years it has become the center of otaku culture.
Akihabara is accessible on the Tokyo subway line by way of JR Yamanote Line to Akihabara Station or from Iwamotocho Station. It is advisable to wait until a weekend of your trip to go out there, preferably Sunday.
On Sunday they close off the street to car traffic so you will be able to access the shops more easily and see some cosplayers and maids out on the street as well.
While not as well known as Akihabara, Ikebukuro is also a center of anime culture. This section is more female-oriented with shops and manga stores geared more to women. The bookstores also have doujinshi from local artists much like that of Akihabara.
Head down Otome Road and you will find the Swallowtail Cafe, a butler cafe. Cosplay events can happen as well close to the nine-story Animate store building.
This smaller district also includes the Pokemon Mega Center and is accessible from many subway lines and is a main station on the JR Yamanote line.
Gundam Base is the main attraction for anime fans, dedicated to selling and displaying the sell the popular buildable models.
Some notable anime and comic conventions are held in Odaiba at Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo International Exhibition Center) such as Comiket and Anime Japan.
Odaiba is accessible by boat via the Tokyo Water Bus, transit bus, walking across the iconic Rainbow Bridge, and many train lines including the Yurikamome elevated train.
4. Nakano Broadway
A short walk from Nakano Station and you will be brought to Sun Mall. The mall is lined with boutiques and shops along a strip ending at the Nakano Broadway.
The shops in Nakano Broadway shopping complex sell anime and idol goods.
Among the four levels of shopping at Nakano Broadway, the second and third levels are where the anime and manga shops are located.
5. Pokemon Mega Center Tokyo
If you love Pokemon, then this place is for you! This shop sells everything from Pokemon plushes to ramen, keychains, trading cards, curry, and more.
If you can think of it, then there is a pokemon version of it in the Pokemon Mega Center Shop In Tokyo.
It is located in the Ikebukuro District inside the Sunshine City Mall, south of Otome Road.
6. Fujiko F. Fujio Museum
This museum celebrates the creator of the well-known character Doraemon, as well as his other works throughout his career. This museum has something for everyone.
There is a collection of Fujiko F. Fujio’s work with audio guides with some commentary on his life and the art displayed.
The other half of the museum is more geared towards children with areas to read manga, take pictures with a statue of Doraemon, as well as short films and playrooms.
This attraction is located in the suburbs of Kawasaki. The closest station is Noborito Station, on the Odakyu Odawara Line and JR Nambu Line.
7. Sanrio World Ginza
This is the largest Sanrio store in the world and stands as the flagship Sanrio store In Japan with the largest selection of Sanrio characters merchandise.
Various items are available featuring Sanrio characters with the charm of Japanese aesthetics.
The shop is located in the Ginza district of Tokyo.
8. Ghibli Museum
Celebrate all things Ghilbi by exploring this gorgeous museum. This museum gives guests a closer look at the process used by the studio in their animations. Special showings of films are held here and animation exhibitions.
The Ghibli Museum is located in Mitaka, just south of Mintaka Station on the Chuo Line.
9. Dogo Onsen
If you’ve seen Spirited Away from Studio Ghibli, then this hot spring resort will look familiar to you.
It served as the inspiration for Yubaba’s bathhouse in the film and it is a prime location for any anime fan looking for that hot spring onsen experience.
Located in Matsuyama, just east of the central part of town.
10. Nijigen No Mori (Awaji Island Anime Park)
This anime theme park in Hyogo, Japan has sections dedicated to Naturo, Godzilla, and Shin-Chan to name a few. The Naturo section was added in 2019 and the Godzilla portion is the newest. All the sections have their own attractions for each fan.
You can get there by train by taking the JR from Akashi Station to Akashi Port Station. It is also accessible by plane, boat, and bus.
11. Kyoto Internationl Manga Museum
One of the museum’s main attractions is browsing the massive library of manga available for reading. This museum also delves into the history of manga and even its development.
Exhibitions are held about notable manga artists as well as workshops and seminars about manga and its creation.
This museum is located a short walk from Karasuma-Oike Subway Station in Kyoto.
12. Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library Of Manga And Subcultures
Nestled in Tokyo’s Meiji University, the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library Of Manga And Subcultures focuses on manga’s history.
The vast manga collection that Yoshihiro Yonezawa owned is featured in this library. He was known for buying so much manga that he kept needing to move to accommodate for his new additions to his collection.
13. Suginami Animation Museum
Before Akihabara, the Suginami Animation Museum was the center of otaku culture. With exhibits on animation, the future of anime, and dubbing are held. Other various activities are available to learn about the medium.
Suginami Ward is just west of Shinjuku and next to Nakano and it is home to 138 anime studios. It was founded by the ward to recognize the anime community in the area.
14. Washinomiya Shrine
In the Saitama Prefecture, sits Washinomiya Shrine. If you are a fan of the show Lucky Star this location could be familiar to you. The two sisters in the anime, Tsukasa and Kagami are shrine maidens for this shrine in the show.
Due to the show’s popularity, the shrine has become a hotspot for otaku and fans of anime. It’s a great spot to spend New Year and leave your wishes for the new year at the shrine and buy some otaku merch while you’re there.
15. Tokyo Character Street
Another hotspot for anime shopping, this mall is located in the underground area of Tokyo Station.
It houses many character-themed shops such as Pokemon, Hello Kitty, and Lego just to name a few.
16. Aoba Castle Sendai Castle (Aoba Castle Ruins)
This castle is a major historical landmark that was used for administrative and ceremonial purposes rather than for the military.
It has featured very prominently in many shounen anime, therefore, making it appealing for anime fans that recognize it. The castle is located in the Sendai Prefecture. The location is 20 minutes from Sendai Station by bus.
17. Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum
This museum chronicles the works and life of the most influential manga artist of the genre, Tezuka Osamu, the creator of “Astro Boy”. Takarazuka City is where he spent most of his childhood and is where this museum is located.
The museum chronicles his life and his manga where fans can even see early sketches of some of his early works such as “Jungle Emperor Leo”.
18. The Mizuki Shigeru Road
In Sakaiminato, close to Sakaiminato Station, the hometown of Mizuki Shigeru commemorates his famous yokai series “GeGeGe no Kitaro” in this street-length museum and treasure hunt.
The yokai characters he brought to life are sprinkled around the area and are used in a fun type of scavenger hunt.
19. Toei Animation Museum
Toei is one of the biggest anime studios in the industry. Located on the grounds of the studio in Oizumi, Nerima City, this museum has an interactive aspect where guests can search for their favorite shows.
It also features production materials in permanent exhibitions.
20. Toyosato Elementary School
Fans of the anime “K-On” will know this school’s facade well. The main appeal of this school is the use of it in the show as the inspiration for the anime.
Cosplay photoshoots are done frequently here and fans come every year to celebrate the character’s birthdays.