Translated by Sandy Lau
Meet Famous Japanese Characters At 5 Spots Near Tokyo!
Written by Kobayashi
Anime and manga is a globally-popular part of Japanese culture. In Japan, you can even encounter the characters for yourself. This article includes five spots near Tokyo where you can meet Studio Ghibli characters, Pokémon, and other characters.
Meet Famous Japanese Characters!
Anime and manga are major parts of Japanese culture. Many people even visit Japan in search of the locations featured in these animations, or the places that inspired the scenes and storylines in their favorite series.
In this article, we introduce five destinations around Tokyo where you can meet some of the most famous characters created in Japan.
1. Ghibli Museum in Mitaka – Experience a Real-Life Ghibli World!
The first spot is the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, located about a fifteen-minute walk from both JR Mitaka Station and Kichijoji Station.
Studio Ghibli is a production company famous for films such as “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Spirited Away,” and “Princess Mononoke." This animation museum was designed by Hayao Miyazaki and his son, Goro Miyazaki. Hayao Miyazaki is the founder and executive director of Studio Ghibli.
Totoro will greet you when you walk past the reception.
There are several different rooms to explore. Some of these include the Catbus Room, where you can be entertained by a recreation of the Catbus from "My Neighbor Totoro," and the Saturn Theater, which screens original short films that you can only see at the museum. At the Straw Hat Cafe, you can indulge in adorable latte art and cakes inspired by Studio Ghibli movies.
There are also limited-time exhibitions in addition to the permanent displays. There is plenty to see, no matter how many times you visit.
Please note that photography and video recording is prohibited inside the museum. Simply enjoy the museum and take back the memories in your heart!
To enter the museum, you need to reserve a time slot in advance, and tickets usually sell out very quickly. For details, please check the museum’s official website.
2. Tokyo One Piece Tower – Get in Character!
"One Piece" is an animated series popular all over the world. It depicts the adventures of Luffy, the protagonist who wears a straw hat, and his friends. Tokyo One Piece Tower, the first large permanent theme park of its kind, is located inside the Tokyo Tower!
You will find many different attractions, like Usopp’s Road to Sogeking, a game where you shoot targets with a slingshot just like the character Usopp. In Zoro’s Soul of Edge, slash cannon balls that come flying at you with a sword. These fun activities allow you to immerse yourself in the world of "One Piece" and feel like your favorite character!
There are also life-sized models you can take photos with, and an entertaining live performance.
You can purchase special merchandise at the Mugiwara Store, and at Sanji’s Oresama Restaurant, visitors can feast on dishes just like the character, Sanji, would make himself.
This theme park is a must-see for "One Piece" fans! Tokyo Tower is a five-minute walk from Akabanebashi Station on the Toei Oedo Line. We recommend including a visit when you are in this area.
3. Fujiko F. Fujio Museum – Find Doraemon's Secret Gadgets (Kawasaki)
Picture from Enter The World Of Doraemon! The Fujiko F. Fujio Museum
Fujiko F. Fujio created many well-known comics, including “Doraemon.” The Fujiko F. Fujio Museum is a theme park where you can experience the world of "Doraemon" and his other creations.
There are a variety of things to do at the museum. You can see original drawings sketched by Fujiko F. Fujio himself and take pictures with Doraemon or with the main character of “Little Ghost Q-Taro,” an anime about ghosts living in a house. You can even photograph the Dokodemo Door (Anywhere Door)!
You can purchase souvenirs at Fujiko-ya and the Museum Shop. These shops sell Memory Bread Rusk, an imitation of one of Doraemon’s secret gadgets (*1), as well as figurines and sweets inspired by the series.
Tickets must be reserved in advance for a specific date and time. Please note that tickets cannot be purchased directly at the museum on the day of your visit. For details, please take a look at their official website.
To reach the museum, take the Odakyu Line at Shinjuku Station to Mukogaoka-Yuen Station, then walk for sixteen minutes to the museum. Please note that the museum is further away from the main sightseeing areas in Tokyo. However, the museum is full of unique attractions and sells limited-edition goods, so we suggest coming by.
*1 Himitsu Dogu (Secret Gadget): useful gadgets from the future that appear in “Doraemon.”
4. Yokohama Anpanman Children’s Museum – Meet the Characters! (Yokohama)
“Anpanman” is a book published in 1969 by Takashi Yanase, a Japanese author. It later was turned into a picture book series, and then went on to become an animation series popular with Japanese children.
At this museum, you can dive into the world of "Anpanman" and meet his friends at five locations across Japan (Yokohama, Nagoya, Sendai, Kobe, and Fukuoka). The location we’ll be introducing is the Yokohama Anpanman Children’s Museum.
The Yokohama Anpanman Children’s Museum & Mall contains a museum and a shopping area.
The museum (1-3F) is entertaining especially for children, as visitors can take pictures with Anpanman and his friends, and even ride the Anpanman-Go (pictured above) and Baikin UFO that appear in the series.
In the shopping mall, you’ll find the Forest Bookstore, which sells "Anpanman" picture books and goods. There are also several restaurants here, including Dokin’s Heart Shape Café which has delicious hamburgers.
Uncle Jam’s Bakery is a popular establishment specializing in bread that resembles the characters from "Anpanman."
Both children and adults familiar with the series can have fun at this museum! The museum is located a seven-minute walk from Shin-Takashima Station (Minato Mirai Line) or Takashimacho Station (Yokohama Municipal Subway). It’s one station away from Yokohama Station, making it convenient to add to a trip around Yokohama.
5. Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo – Don’t Miss Out on the Cute Merchandise! (Ikebukuro)
Picture from Pokémon Galore! The Highlights Of Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo
The last spot we’ll be introducing is Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo. It is located an eight minute walk from Ikebukuro Station on the second floor of Sunshine City Alpa, a shopping mall.
Pocket Monsters is a game series that was released in 1996. Since its release, the world of “Pokémon” has become popular internationally through its animated series.
This store has a large variety of merchandise, from plush dolls and stationery to keyholders.
Visitors can meet and be greeted by their favorite Pokémon characters. You can also join in card battle tournaments during limited-time events! The Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo is sure to be entertaining for all visiting.
Visit Your Favorite Characters!
The characters that you can meet at these five locations are popular and well-loved not only in Japan, but throughout the world.
These locations are not only enjoyable for fans of these characters, and but also for visitors interested in Japanese anime and manga culture and for those traveling with their family or with children. Take a trip to the outskirts of Tokyo and visit these entertaining spots!