How to Find an Otaku’s Paradise in Japan
If you’ve been watching anime for a long time, you have probably dreamed of going to the motherland, Japan, one day, right? You might have bought your plane ticket and are almost done packing your bags – but wait, there’s a hard fact you need to accept: Not everything in Japan is like in anime… so where do you go to release your inner otaku? Let me help you out by showing you some great places to go if you’re an otaku!
If you know your anime, then you must know about Shonen Jump. Shonen Jump is the best selling weekly published magazine featuring popular titles like Naruto, One Piece, Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist), Bakuman, and Gintama. Do any of those sound at all familiar? Chances are, if it’s a super popular anime, it’s been published in Shonen Jump.
Well, if you like Shonen Jump, you’ll love J-World! It’s an amusement park located in Sunshine City, Ikebukuro, Tokyo with its theme solely based on Shounen Jump. It’s an indoor amusement park, too, so you can have fun no matter what the weather!
There are rides to ride and games to play, but you also can’t forget the food! J-World features a restaurant with foods based on your favorite series. Do you want to try Naruto ramen? How about some Dragon Ball Z burgers? Can’t forget the Bleach pasta! If you’re a Jump fan, you’ll find a way to have some fun here.
Den Den Town, Osaka
So you made it to Japan, but don’t have time for Tokyo? How about hitting up Osaka! Osaka is known as the kitchen of Japan, but don’t think that you won’t have fun there as an otaku. Take a stroll a few minutes outwards from Nipponbashi Station and you’ll find yourself in Den Den Town, a street in Osaka known as Osaka’s “electric town”.
In Den Den Town, you’ll not only find many electronic goods, new or used, but you will also find many shops selling your favorite anime goods! Think of it as Osaka’s Akihabara, but on a smaller scale without all the crowds. Here you can find Melonbooks, Animate, Animax Cafe, K-Books, and so much more! Heck, hit up the local Taito Station and win yourself a figure, if you think you’re skilled enough.
And don’t forget to try some of the best Japanese food that you’ve seen in anime in Osaka! It is known as Japan’s kitchen after all.
If you happen to be in Tokyo, you should consider taking the train over to Odaiba! It is an artificial island located in Tokyo Bay. Odaiba is the place to go if you’re a Gundam fan because that’s where the life sized Gundam is located! Walk from the station to Diver City, and you’ll see the massive Gundam posing for all to take pictures of. Of course, you can’t only go for the Gundam. There’s also a Gundam Cafe with Gundam themed foods and some omiyage to take home for you fans out there.
Not to mention that if you happen to time your trip just right, you’ll get to go to Comiket which is located in the iconic Tokyo Big Sight where you can sell dojunshi or buy dojunshi written by your favorite mangaka! It only happens twice a year, but it’s an event that you’ll never forget.
Of course, there’s also a necessary experience that not many foreigners want to pass up even with the level of discomfort involved. It’s the onsen. In Odaiba, there is the Oedo Onsen which is one of the most foreigner friendly onsen in Tokyo. Plus, they also feature themes for some of your favorite anime in their games and decor! It should also be noted that this particular onsen has been featured in a few anime. Can you name them?
Nakano Broadway, Tokyo
One otaku city in Tokyo that isn’t as well known internationally is Nakano. In Nakano exists a shopping center called Nakano Broadway with several floors of anime shopping just for you! Of course, there are other things like clothes and food, but you’re here for the anime.
One particularly amazing aspect about Nakano Broadway is Mandrake, which dominates an entire floor in Nakano Broadway. Mandrake is known for all sorts of anime merchandise from cosplay to figurines. It’s impossible for you to not find something amazing in this anime paradise! Just leave some room in your suitcase to bring your haul back home.
Now, one of the best places to go in Tokyo as an otaku is Ikebukuro. Why does that city sound so familiar? It’s the setting for Durarara!! and let met tell you, the animators and the mangaka got the setting down! If you loved Durarara!! you will feel at home in this city.
But of course, that’s not why you should go to Ikebukuro. For otaku, Ikebukuro is known for one thing in particular: Otome Road. Otome Road is the place to go for all you fujoshi out there looking for your next yaoi fix. You’ll find tons of yaoi and shounen ai on Otome Road, but don’t worry, you can find other shoujo manga here as well. You can’t forget to visit a butler cafe while you’re here. Just try to keep your fantasies down a bit.
Last but certainly not least is Akihabara, also known as Akiba. Have you ever played Akiba’s Trip? Well, you’ll find that it’s eerily similar to the real Akiba in almost every way except for the stripping part. Hell, even the shops featured in the game can be found in Akihabara!
Now, Akihabara is basically the Mecca for all otaku. How could it not be? It’s an entire street filled with whole buildings dedicated to everything an otaku could ever want. Technically, Akihabara is Tokyo’s electric town where you can buy electronics, but you’ll be swallowed up by how anime-centric this place actually is.
Akiba has everything from multiple maid cafes, anime themed cafes and restaurants, arcades that are several stories tall, internet cafes, anime merchandise, and so much more. How can you name them all? Akiba is quite clearly the place for otaku! It’ll drive you mad.
Hope you liked this list of top places in Japan for otaku. There are so many places to see and go, but when you’re an otaku, you have needs. Satisfy those needs in some of these places where you’re free to be exactly who you are: an otaku.
For some of you, you may want to visit Universal Studios Japan, as well, since there is an Attack on Titan attraction, but of course it didn’t make it on our list because the actual park is not anime themed. Still, it’s a tempting place to go, no?
Now, how many are you guys are ready to take off and hit up these places? Pack your bags and have fun!