Following Anime (アニメ - Japanese animation) and Manga (漫画 - Japanese comics) has become a way of life in Japan. It all started with the manga, but as manga started becoming famous, the natural progression was for them to transcend to animated shows. That’s how anime shows were born.
What sets anime apart are the colors, the movements, the vocals and of course, the theme songs. The theme song creates a unique brand for each anime show. Its wonder is best explored by being in the land of the rising sun. The thing is, most visitors to Japan just skim through the anime world. However, if you dig a little deeper, your time in Japan will be greatly enriched. Explore the various anime attractions listed below and see what the excitement is all about!
ANIME THEME PARKS (アニメテーマパーク)
1. J-World Tokyo (ジェイワールド トウキョウ)
J-World Tokyo is located in Ikebukuro’s (池袋) Sunshine City. It is an exciting indoor anime theme park with fabulous rides and exhibits based on various anime characters. The collection includes One Piece, Naruto and Dragon Ball-Z, among others. If you’re an anime fan, you’ll love this theme park. If not, it’s a great way to get introduced to anime characters, various storylines and much more.
2. Gundam Front Tokyo (ガンダムフロント東京)
This theme park is situated just 5 minutes away from Daiba Station (台場駅). Gundam Front Tokyo is located on the top floor on Odaiba’s Diver City Tokyo complex. You can enjoy the various attractions this park offers, centered on famous anime characters. You can enjoy anime-themed rides, watch anime shows, play with people dressed as your favorite anime characters, and much more.
3. One Piece Tower Theme Park (ワンピースタワーテーマパーク)
Situated within the base of Tokyo Tower (東京タワー), this theme park is based entirely on the extremely popular One Piece anime series. The park offers a variety of games, anime shows, rides and fantastic displays featuring characters from the series. It’s wholesome entertainment for all fans of One Piece.
4. Sanrio Puroland Theme Park (サンリオピューロランドテーマパーク)
Sanrio Puroland theme park is located close to the Keio Tama Center Station (京王多摩センター駅). This theme park is centered on Sanrio's extremely popular creation, Hello Kitty. This theme park is for younger kids, who’ll enjoy the life-sized Hello Kitty house, a boat ride on a Hello Kitty river, and several theaters and live shows based on the famous character. The theme park also contains stores that sell Hello Kitty toys and other collectibles.
5. Namja Town Indoor Theme Park (ナンジャタウンインドアテーマパーク)
Namja Town is located in Sunshine City in Ikebukuro. This theme park is the brainchild of the creator of the Pacman character, Namco. At this theme park, you can enjoy a huge variety of arcade games and leisure products based on Pacman. Several exciting rides and 3D attractions are also available for kids. The highlight is the Showa Period (昭和時代) town created around the food court, complete with recreated old alleys. Here, you can enjoy special gyouza (餃子 - pan-fried dumplings) and some yummy desserts.
ANIME MALLS & STORES (アニメテモールとストア)
6. Akihabara Mall (秋葉原モール)
The Akihabara Mall is considered the center of gaming, manga and anime culture in Japan. This store is a paradise for any self-proclaimed otaku (オタク - anime fan) as it is filled with thousands of anime videos, posters, toys, and all things anime.
7. Nakano Broadway Mall (中野ブロードウェイ)
Nakano Broadway Mall near JR Nakano Station has a large concentration of retail outlets that specialize in anime goods. Whether you’re looking for anime cosplay costumes, anime figures or toys, this is the place to visit.
8. Pokémon Centers (ポケモンセンター)
Pokémon manga and anime are extremely famous all over the world. Tokyo has three Pokémon centers – one in the Lalaport Tokyo-Bay shopping mall (ららぽーと), another in Ikebukuro's Sunshine City (サンシャインシティ) and the third one in Tokyo Skytree Town (東京スカイツリータウン). These stores sell Pokémon stationery, trading cards, toys, games and exclusive anime figures, and allow people to play with Pokémon anime cards with other players.
ANIME MUSEUMS (アニメ美術館)
9. Ghibli Museum (ジブリ美術館)
This museum features all the anime characters that were created by Ghibli Studios. Here, you’ll find fantastic 3D displays from movies such as Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away. The museum also features exclusive animation exhibits and short educational movies on Japanese anime.
10. Suginami Animation Museum (杉並アニメーションミュージアム)
This museum is located in Suginami City Ward (杉並区), which is the core of Japanese anime production. If you want to know how anime shows are created, do visit this museum. Enjoy watching the dubbing process where anime actors give voice to their characters. Do visit the digital workshop where you can bring your own anime creations to life.
11. Fujiko F. Fujio Museum (藤子.F.不二雄ミュージアム)
At this museum, you can revel in the works of famous manga artist Fujiko F. Fujio. Fujiko San is credited with the creation of the long-running Doraemon series, which is famous the world over. Enjoy watching a short film on how Doraemon came into being. Explore galleries filled with life-sized characters and the original artwork from the Doraemon and other series by Fujiko F. Fujio.
ANIME EVENTS (アニメイベント)
12. AnimeJapan (アニメジャパン)
The AnimeJapan event is the world’s largest anime exhibition. It occurs during late March at the Tokyo Big Site in Odaiba (お台場). You will truly enjoy the anime trade fair, the stage exhibitions, various film showings and awards ceremonies at this event. You’ll also get the chance to meet other anime fans. Participants and visitors bring out their cosplay costumes for this event, which makes for a colorful turnout.
13. Comiket (コミケット)
If you’re in Japan in mid-August or late-December, don’t miss the Comiket ( コミケット - abbreviation of Comic Market) event. It is usually held at Tokyo Big Site in Odaiba (お台場). This event is the largest comic convention in the world, and is the place to purchase self-published anime works (同人誌 - どうじんし - Doujinshi), limited anime artifacts, and rare anime scripts and artwork.
Once you take a dip into the world of Japanese Anime, it’s hard not to get addicted. Japanese anime rules the world; it has literally taken over the traditional cartoon shows of previous generations. Anime fans frequently download long-running anime scripts and shows online. So go ahead, dip in fully and become a Japanese anime Otaku (オタク) (major fan).
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