Always wanted to go to Tokyo? Love manga and anime? Then you may be an otaku!
For the uninitiated, manga is Japan’s unique form of comics, anime is Japan’s body of animation cinema, and an otaku is a mega-fan of Japanese pop culture. Since its modern-day emergence in the 1950s, manga has heavily influenced Japanese pop culture, from its fundamental aesthetics and narratives to more specific forms of expression, such as sci-fi movies and cosplay (short for “costume play,” the popular pastime of dressing up like manga characters).
If manga and its related arts excite you—or your kids—read on! Tokyo is undisputedly Japan’s manga mecca, and we have tips on the best spots to enjoy its unique, sometimes nutty, and always imaginative manga scene.
It’s a known fact: every otaku makes a pilgrimage to Akihabara. Previously known as an electronics district, today Akihabara also serves as Tokyo’s main manga hub. You’ll find dozens of shops dedicated to anime, manga, figurines, card games and collectibles. One of our favorite shops is the multiple-story chain store, Animate.
If you’re the adventurous type, go and have an unforgettable experience at one of Akihabara’s “cosplay cafes” or themed cafes. These coffee shops and restaurants let you live out your manga fantasies. While maid cafes offer waitresses dressed as maids (a popular manga theme), cosplay cafes provide a setting for cosplayers to congregate. Themed cafes, such as Gundam Café, let you step into the world of your favorite manga.
Or, if your kids love Hello Kitty, Pokemon, Totoro, or any denizen of the manga and anime universe, they’ll go absolutely nuts for Character Street. Located under the Tokyo Station, this warren of shops is dedicated to figurines, plush toys, stationary, and anything else you can imagine featuring manga characters.
For those keen on learning the craft of manga or anime, we can arrange a manga drawing class in Tokyo, which can be an exciting, hands-on activity perfect for the otaku traveling alone or with family. We also recommend a trip to Asagaya Anime Street, which offers an animation school in addition to shops. Located just west of Shinjuku, the area is home to numerous anime production studios, so you can stroll past the headquarters of some of the world’s most famous anime creators.
Ready to go explore Tokyo’s intoxicating manga landscape? Contact one of our locally based Travel Specialists to start tailoring your own Tokyo manga tour.