Tokyo, a city that effortlessly blends tradition with modernity, is a haven for anime enthusiasts. As you traverse its vibrant districts, the unmistakable influence of anime and manga permeates the air. In this guide, we’ll embark on a thrilling journey through Tokyo’s iconic neighborhoods, unveiling the best spots for anime lovers to indulge in their passion.
Akihabara and Kanda Myojin: Electric Town’s Anime Haven
Akihabara, often referred to as Electric Town, stands as the undisputed epicenter of anime culture. Here, the streets pulse with the energy of colorful billboards, vibrant shops, and countless anime-themed establishments. Dive into the district’s myriad anime shops, where shelves overflow with manga, figurines, and merchandise. A must-visit is the Akihabara UDX Building, where you can also find the Tourist Center with maps and newest events.
Adjacent to Akihabara lies Kanda Myojin, a historic shrine that has seamlessly incorporated anime culture into its traditions. Devotees can purchase anime-themed ema (wooden prayer plaques) and seek blessings for their favorite characters.
My friends (including Japanese) and I always got the feeling that Akihabara caters more towards idol anime fans, so read on if you’re love is somewhere else!
Tokyo Character Street: A Collector’s Paradise
Nestled within Tokyo Station, Tokyo Character Street is a treasure trove for anime collectors. This underground shopping haven features specialty stores dedicated to beloved characters from popular anime series. From Pikachu at the Pokémon Store to Hello Kitty and Koupenchan, fans can explore an array of merchandise, including exclusive items not found elsewhere.
Nakano Broadway: Anime Wonderland in the Heart of Nakano
Nakano Broadway, located in the Nakano district, is a multi-story shopping complex catering to anime enthusiasts. With its narrow aisles and countless shops, Nakano Broadway offers an immersive experience. From rare manga editions to vintage collectibles and anime-themed cafes, this bustling enclave is a haven for those seeking unique treasures. Don’t forget to explore Mandarake, a renowned second-hand manga store with an extensive collection.
If you’re like me and were raised in the ’90s and early 2000s, you’ll get a huge wave of nostalgia just by browsing through the different shops!
Ikebukuro: Anime and Entertainment Hub
Ikebukuro rivals Akihabara in its anime offerings and we believe it winks an eye to more anime genres, especially shonen. I sometimes say that Akihabara is for men and Ikebukuro is for women – though not entirely true. The district is home to massive anime stores as well as collaboration stores and cafes, where fans can find an extensive selection of manga, anime, and character goods. The Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo in Ikebukuro is a paradise for Pokémon aficionados, offering exclusive merchandise and interactive experiences. The Sunshine City shopping mall has few anime stores, including the One Piece Store, and a super cute Pokémon cafè.
Additionally, Ikebukuro is home to the newly opened Anime Tokyo Station and a very nice BookOff for your second-hand blissful experience.
Odaiba: Futuristic Fun for Anime Enthusiasts
Odaiba, Tokyo’s futuristic entertainment hub, also caters to anime lovers. DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, located on Odaiba, houses the life-sized Gundam statue—an iconic landmark for Gundam enthusiasts. Inside and near the shopping complex, you will also find a Doraemon shop and some statues of the characters.
As Odaiba and the nearby Ariake are the home of Love! Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club, they twin with Akihabara for merchandising from the franchise. The Decks shopping mall in Odaiba even hosts a semi-permanent shop and cafè where you can find a lot from the series.
Kuramae: Bandai’s home
Bandai, hailed as one of Japan’s largest toy companies, calls Tokyo’s Kuramae district home for its corporate headquarters and showrooms, conveniently located not far from Asakusa. While it once stood independently, it was merged with entertainment giant Namco in 2006. Just a short walk from Asakusa, the headquarters have a small showroom that you can access on weekdays – but you’ll still be able to see the different toys from the big windows if you during closing times. I always go at the wrong time, but still the nostalgia about Sailor Moon and Versailles no Bara hits hard!
Tokyo Skytree: Tree Village Television Station Official Shop
Situated on the fourth floor of the Tokyo Solamachi building, this promotional goods store offers a curated selection of character merchandise from television programs or movies broadcast on major Tokyo channels. These channels include Fuji Television, Nippon Television, TV Asahi, TBS, and TV Tokyo. Complementing the store is an annexed café that serves delectable cuisine inspired by the current season’s featured programs.
Need help with building your itinerary based on anime? Contact me at elleofakind[at]gmail.com!