As a country with a long history and unique culture Japan has many tourist attractions, both for those who seek the old classic Japanese experience and those hoping to experience the modern mangakakalot, high tech, Japan. Many anime and manga fans dream of visiting Japan to take photographs of famous anime and manga locales, as well as see those places firsthand. Here are eight must-see locations in Japan that anime and manga fans should check on their next trip:
If you love Studio Ghibli movies such as Laputa, Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro you will want to visit the official Studio Ghibli Museum located in Mitaka City Tokyo. The museum offers giant dolls and status from the Ghibli movies, rooms filled with production cells that explain the animation process behind the movies, and an official Ghibli memorabilia store. The museum is well suited for children and adult alike and has a cafeteria and café inside of it. Because it is very popular by both Japanese and tourists alike people are encouraged to secure their tickets by ordering them via the museum’s website beforehand.
The city of Kuki in Saitama is the backdrop for the popular manga and anime series Lucky Star. The Washinomia shrine that can be found there was also depicted in the series. The shrine offers Lucky Star goods such as themed Ema, postcards and lucky charms. On New Year’s eve the shrine throws a big celebration with some motifs from the Lucky Star series.
Lake Kizaki in Nagano and its surrounding were depicted extensively in the Onegai Teacher and Onegai Twins anime series. The lake is not located near any big or important landmark so it might be a bit of a sidetrack for some, but the lush forest and traditional city found near it are well worth the time for anime and non-anime fans alike. The lake and its surroundings offer many attractions such as forest tracks, traditional Japanese shops, lake activities and many other tourist attractions.
Fans of the manga and anime Kannagi – Crazy Shrine Maidens might want to visit Hanabushi shrine. The shrine provided the backdrop for the manga and anime series Kannagi and can be found in Shiogama City, Miyagi Prefecture. The shrine is very humble and simple. Those visiting might find Ema with drawings from the Kannagi series hung inside or near it.
a Japanese monument anime and manga fans might remember from the famous series Card Captor Sakura and Magic Knight Rayearth. Tokyo Tower offers a great view of Tokyo and houses several shops. It is a popular tourist location that attracts Japanese and foreigners alike. Tokyo Tower is located in Shiba-Koen, Minato, Tokyo.
The Inari Shrine found in Kyoto was used as the backdrop for a few episodes in the anime series Bakemonogatari. It is a beautiful shrine located at the foot of a mountain. It is famous for having thousands of Torii (Shinto shrine gates) decorating its slopes and the roads that lead to it. The shrine was built on the mountain side. Those who climb the mountain will reach a lookout point from which they can see Kyoto in its entirety.
Kyoto hosts the manga museum – a school building that was converted into a museum holding nothing but manga! Those visiting the museum can freely read any of the thousands of manga volumes found in the first and second floors. The manga museum is not a commercial museum and was established for the preservation of manga with cultural value. For those researchers among you there is a research reference room with hard to find historical manga in it. The museum also runs exhibitions on the history of manga and comics worldwide.
Pokemon Centers – In Japan there exist several shops for those fans of the Pokemon franchise. These are called Pokemon Centers and are designed to look like places from the Pokemon TV series and games. In these centers you can buy memorabilia, see pictures from the anime series and at special occasions download new and rare Pokemon for you Nintendo DS Pokemon games. In total there are 7 Pokemon Centers in Japan. The Tokyo Pokemon Center is located in Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo. What is the core difference between anime and a manga? Most people quickly respond that one can be watched on television and the other can only be read in a comic book from left to right. However, these two different types of media can be much more similar than you may think. For example, the anime Naruto would not exist without its manga predecessor. Let me explain to you now why in my opinion the anime version of a plot always wins over the written manga one.
The first reason for my assessment is that unlike the manga the anime version allows you to see your favorite characters in full color. Instead of the old fashion black and white text frames, you can see a colorful display of moving images and artwork. It also brings you into their world and allows you to explore the land with the characters. This illusion brings you the viewer into the show and makes your imagination soar. Color is a big deal today, and the same applies to Japanese cartoon shows as well.
My second reason for the preference of Japanese animation over a written manga strip is the sound. There is no way to hear the characters speak in a comic book as you do in an anime. Being able to hear the explosions, screams, and the special effects of the show give you the illusion that you are actually there in person. This in turn will make you the viewer more excited than ever to see the next episode as soon as possible. Many Japanese corporations have caught on to this trend, and have thus transformed their manga versions to anime television shows in the process.