There are many people across the world that can relate to the Japanese otaku, a person who really loves anime, manga or games. Japan is, obviously, a great draw for the international otaku as it is the centre of a lot of the anime and manga that we love. But, if you visit Japan where are the best places to go to see otaku culture or buy anime or manga goods?
Studio Ghibli is easily one of the most famous film studios of Japan and is familiar to a lot of people. If you are lucky enough to be in Japan you can visit the Museum dedicated to all things Ghibli. If you are visiting from overseas you must book your ticket before you go. One negative about the museum is that you cannot take pictures inside, although I think that makes it more special. Not only do you get to wander around a beautifully designed building that is designed to make you get lost, there are some unique things there. For example, there is a small cinema in the museum which shows films never released! You can also visit the restaurant which is Ghibli themed and enjoy some food from their popular films. Before you go visit the gift shop, it is jam-packed with Studio Ghibli merchandise and is great to see. The one place you can take photos is outside, you can visit Totoro in the ticket booth or see a robot for Laputa on the roof garden, notice the stained glass windows depicting film characters too.
Akihabara, or better known as “Electric Town”, it is the go-to place for electronics, games and otaku culture. Not only is this the centre for technology it is also a mecca for otaku. There are many stores which sell manga and anime figurines, games and even retro consoles. There are great stores for cameras and photography too. Not only are there shops full of collectables there are also a lot of Maid-cafe. Maid-cafe are very popular among otaku as you can get a taste of what it is like living in a manga. In Maid-cafe you can be served by girls dressed as maids (or other themes) who call you master and serve super cute food. If you enjoy cosplay then Akihabara is also the place for you! You can get costumes for a lot of famous anime, manga and games and also character related items, such as phone cases or charms. Want a wallet with a Death Note/Naruto/One Piece character? Then Akihabara is the place to visit! Whether you are into Star Wars, Hello Kitty or Final Fantasy you will find something to love in Akihabara.
Pokemon is one of the most recognisable franchises of games in the world! With so many editions and myriads of Pokemon everyone have a favourite. If you are into Pokemon and want to catch your own Pikachu or Evee then get yourself to a Pokemon Centre. Don’t fret if you aren’t going to Tokyo as there are 11 Pokemon centres across Japan. There are two in Tokyo and another in nearby Yokohama, but they reach as far as Sapporo and Osaka. Sometimes you may even be lucky and find some limited edition items, such as when the Mega store in Tokyo opened with a Pikachu dressed as Charizard!!
These three places are great to make a start at visiting Japan as an otaku but are by no means all there is on offer. While travelling around you will stumble across stores nationwide that feature anime, manga or games… it is Japan after all!