Whether you’re from the camp of Dragon Ball or One Piece aficionados, or a die-hard Hello Kitty merch collector, Tokyo has plenty of places for you to visit to get your anime or manga-loving fix. If you’re trying to get your hands on collectables that can only be found in Japan, or are looking for an anime-themed experience to bring you closer to your favorite characters, there is sure to be a place for you in Tokyo.
These are the best districts for shopping, museums and dining to satisfy your inner otaku.
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Akihabara: The Unofficial Anime Paradise
The Akihabara District of Tokyo, affectionately nicknamed ‘Akiba,’ easily gets the most foot traffic, and is a must-visit as it satisfies a myriad of desired experiences for fans of anime and manga.
If you follow the many generations of the long-running ‘Gundam’ series, then the Gundam Cafe is a mandatory stop on your Akihabara tour. Located just outside the JR gate of Akihabara Station, the Gundam Cafe is the perfect place to relive your childhood with figures on display, while snacking on well-decorated, Gundam-themed dishes.
Depending on the time of your visit, some staff members may be dressed up in Gundam cosplay, and best of all, you can watch your favorite iconic moments from the Gundam series’ storied history.
Everyone has their favorite anime opening or ending theme song, and AniOn Station is the perfect place to listen to all the hits with fellow anime enthusiasts. Complete with a DJ booth that takes requests, you will find it easy to lose track of time from listening to songs featured in new and classic anime. Glow sticks are available to further immerse you in the atmosphere.
In addition to a cafe and bar that serves snacks and alcohol, AniOn Station occasionally hosts collaborations that highlight fan favorites. Past collaborations have included Sailor Moon, as well as ‘THE iDOLM@STER.’
Nakano Broadway: Akiba’s Equally Impressive Little Brother
While the size and scope of Akihabara is a highly attractive draw for most fans looking for their favorite anime and manga goods, it may come as a bit of a surprise how equally as convenient the underrated and lesser-known Nakano Broadway area is as its more tourist-frequented twin.
Depending on who you ask, Nakano Broadway, which is a quick 5-minute walk from Nakano Station, also features better deals than Akihabara. For fans of classic anime and manga, this is a haven of nostalgic finds. Nakano Broadway is located about 30 minutes from Akihabara on the Chūō-Sōbu Line, which might be well worth the trip considering it takes the expansiveness of Akiba’s blocks-long coverage and condenses it down into a single compound. This allows you to walk less and shop more.
Anime and Manga Special Events and Museums
Japan has developed iconic works in the field of anime and manga, and there are yearly or year-round events and destinations to celebrate specific titles and the mediums as a whole.
Just a 15-minute train ride from Nakano Broadway, the Ghibli Museum is the most sought-after destination for fans of one of the world’s most influential animation studios. As the writer and director of beloved films that include My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, Hayao Miyazaki has created an eclectic body of work, and the Ghibli Museum is the place to transport yourself to the magical world Studio Ghibli has constructed over the years.
Tickets for the Ghibli Museum tend to sell out pretty fast, so it’s usually recommended to secure your reservation about a month in advance, although on rare occasions a ticket can be found less than one week before your desired visit. Featuring short films to watch, along with plenty of iconic imagery from the studio’s most popular films, the childlike atmosphere of the Ghibli Museum will make the experience worth the day trip.
The Fujiko F. Fujio Museum is affectionately-named Doraemon Museum, after the manga and anime creator’s most popular character. Having existed in print form for over 25 years, and ongoing as an animation since 1973, many generations have grown up with Doraemon. The enduring character’s influence continues to this day, having extended beyond Japan’s borders and been broadcast in more than 20 countries across the world.
The museum is located in Kawasaki, which is about 45 minutes from central Tokyo by train. An English audio guide will help you enjoy the experience better. The museum also features a viewing room, manga reading room, and plenty of statues outside for prime photo opportunities.
AnimeJapan is an event held every year, and one of Japan’s biggest for lovers of all things anime. With larger-than-life exhibitions, hundreds of cosplayers from Japan and all around the world, this 2-day event for the general public is the ultimate gathering place to celebrate your favorite current and past anime, while also learning about what’s ahead in the upcoming seasons for that year.
Combining the words comic and market, Comiket is the premiere event for manga die-hards. Taking place twice a year at Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba, features self-published comics, called doujinshi, which are mostly based on popular pre-existing anime or manga series. Most doujinshi are limited in volume in order to avoid any potential lawsuits regarding copyright, causing their value to quickly increase.
In addition to fan-made comics, this massive gathering also has its own cosplay area, similar to AnimeJapan. However, given the scale of the marketplace, the cosplay area is kept separate so as not to allow the foot traffic from getting too congested.
Best Tokyo Anime and Manga Chain Shops
With anime and manga growing exponentially in popularity domestically as much as it is internationally, finding a shop to buy that must-have merch isn’t so hard. Here are the best places to go to find what you’re looking for:
With locations in popular areas like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, as well as many other locations around Tokyo, Anime is a great place to grab anime music CDs, the latest manga, figures and more.
Mandarake dominates prime real estate in Akihabara, and is the centerpiece of Nakano Broadway, but this major chain also has shops in Ikebukuro and Shibuya.
Looking only for Pokemon goods? You can find a Pokemon Mega Center in Ikebukuro, Sky Tree Town, or Nihombashi. Grab plushies, stationery or even hygiene merch branded with your favorite pocket monster.
With locations at the Tokyo Dome and Sky Tree Town, the Jump is an oasis for shonen anime and manga lovers. Get your favorite Dragon Ball and One Piece merchandise here.
No matter where you go in Tokyo, finding a place to buy your favorite anime and manga memorabilia should be a breeze!
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