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Touring Tokyo Through Anime : Steins; Gate in Akihabara, Kimi no na wa in Shinjuku and More

Touring Tokyo Through Anime : Steins; Gate in Akihabara, Kimi no na wa in Shinjuku and More

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Let’s be real. Japan is not anime in real life.

High school girls with toast in their mouths are not running around every corner, people with naturally green, purple, blonde, or pink hair are rare, and sparkling flowers do not spontaneous appear behind every attractive men and women. Major anime tropes fail to reflect reality. But anime settings often do. Look behind your favorite character and you might just spot a train station, restaurant, amusement part, and even house that actually exist in Japan.

Quite a few of contemporary anime series draw upon real life as neighborhoods and cities within Tokyo as models for anime backgrounds. For the adventurous anime-lover with a fully charged train card, tracking down anime locations can be a fun way to explore Tokyo.

The following is a potential travel plans that runs through the following major anime settings and sightseeing spots: Akihabara, Jimbocho, Kasuga, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Ogikubo, Kichijouji.


 

Akihabara (Love Live!, Steins; Gate)

Akihabara, an area well known for both electronics and anime goods, has several landmarks that loom large in such fan favorites as Love Live and Steins; Gate. From the Akihabara Station through the Electric Town exit, you can easily access the Akihabara UDX Building and the Akihabara Radio Kaikan.

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Love Live! animators modeled the UTX Academy after the existing Akihabara UDX Building. The Akihabara UDX Building, though not a high school with a popular idol group, is open to the public and is also an excellent photo opportunity. Be sure to visit the Tokyo Anime Center within the Akihabara UDX building to pick up maps of the area[1]. You can check out the anime exhibits that rotate through the Tokyo Anime Center[2].

[池袋駅前の写真]

Radio Kaikan, famously featured in Steins; Gate, is to the left when you face the Atre Akihabara shopping mall when exiting the Electric Town exit[3]. Reopened after remodeling in 2014, the inside of Radio Kaikan does not quite resemble is shadowy anime counterpart. Slick and shiny, Radio Kaikan still remains an iconic building with plenty of shopping opportunities for anime fans.

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A short walk from Akihabara Station, Love Live! fans can visit the basis for Honoka’s home by stopping by Takemura. A traditional Japanese sweets shop like its anime rendition, Takamura offers a quite and pleasant break from the hustle and bustle of Akihabara.[4] Another spot Love Live fans should visit is Kanda Myoujin Shrine.

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Nozomi Toujou works at Kanda Myoujin Shrine as a shrine maiden. Well known as the guardian shrine of technology due to its proximity to Akihabara, Kanda Myoujin Shrine sells Nozomi Toujou charms and holds Love Live events occasionally.[5]


 

Jimbocho and Kasuga (Fune wo Amu)

Nearby Akihabara is Jimbocho, the book publishing district of Tokyo and the setting of the anime series Fune wo Amu. Fans can strolling through the same streets Fune wo Amu’s Mitsuya Majime and Masashi Nishioka while also passing by the offices of big time manga publishers Shueisha, Shogakukan, Kodansha, and Kadokawa.

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While in Jimbocho, tourists can also learn how to draw manga in the heart of the manga publishing industry. Manga Juku offers one day classes for foreign tourists. With a little bit of planning ahead of time, you can sign up to learn the basics of manga at one of the top manga vocational schools in Tokyo.[6]

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Two trains stops away from Jimbocho on the Mita Line at Kasuga Station, Fune wo Amu fans embark on a date like Mitsuya and Kaguya. In the anime, Mitsuya and Kaguya go to Tokyo Dome City, an amusement park and shopping area right next to Kasuga Station. Herald as an “entertainment city,” Tokyo Dome City has a water park, spa, roller coaster, and numerous restaurants and shops.[7] To truly live the Fune wo Amu moment, be sure to ride the iconic Ferris wheel known as the “Big O.”[8] (Just be sure to remember to jump off at the right time.)

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Ikebukuro (Mawaru Penguin Drum and Durarara!!)

Via the Marunoichi Line in Kourauken Station (next to Kasuga Station,) you can reach Ikebukuro within 15 minutes. Anime shops, doujinshi, themed cafes, and arcades are plentiful in Ikebukuro and perfect for the people who likes bishounen, otome games, and Boys’ Love. Fans of Mawaru Penguin Drum can also visit the same Sunshine City Aquarium Shouma, Kanba, and Himari visit.

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Fans of Durarara!! also have many great photo opportunity is in front of the Sunshine Cinema, the movie theater seen in the show’s opening, and along the alleyways in that area.[9]

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Shinjuku (Kimi no na wa, The Garden of Words)

Hopping on the Yamanote Line from Ikebukuro, Makoto Shinkai fans can see just how realistic his luscious sceneries are in real life by visiting Shinjuku Gyoen, the setting for Garden of Words.[10]

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Kimi no na wa also partially takes place in Shinjuku. Fans can see the city life protagonist Taki experiences everyday along with seeing just how cramp the trains are during rush hour. [11]


 

Ogikubo, Kichijoji (Mawaru Penguindrum, Sunrise Studio, Occultic; Nine, Studio Ghibli)

From Shinjuku, you can easily reach Ogikubo and Kichijoji through the Chuo Line. The other main setting for Mawaru Penguindrum is Ogikubo. After taking pictures of the station area often seen in the show, what else is there to do in Ogikubo?

The Suginami Animation Museum is a short bus ride or 20 minute walk away from the Ogikubo Station. The Association of Japanese Animators and the Japan Animation Association support this admission-free museum. [12]Representing the collaboration of Japanese anime studios to educate the public on the history and production process of Japanese animation, this museum is a must for ardent fans. As a note, many of the exhibits are in Japanese only and the museum recommends non-Japanese speakers to arrange an interpreter prior to visiting.

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Those who want to take a detour to see animation studio in person, be sure to stop at Kamiigusa Station. A forty minute walk north from Ogikubo Station or a 15 minute bus ride, Kamiigusa is the home of Sunrise Studios. A Gundam statue stands in front of the Kamiigusa Station and two minute walk east of the station takes you to Sunrise Studio. While the studio is not open to visitors, anyone is allowed in the lobby and see the PR material they leave out for visitors.

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Continuing along the Chuo Line toward Tachikawa is Kichijoji, a familiar area to those watching Occultic; Nine this season. In Kichijoji, Inokashira Park will have ample entertainment options. (Hopefully there won’t be any bodies in Inokashira Lake or any Occultic; Nine antics going on when you visit.)

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The Studio Ghibli Museum is also located in Inokashira Park, though pre-planning is a must for those who wish to visit the museum since tickets are sold ahead of time.

With a little planning ahead of time, traveling through Tokyo with anime in mind can be a fun way to see the city. This is only a brief overview of areas that are appear in anime, but there are plenty other areas to see in Tokyo and throughout Japan.

References

[1] http://www.gotokyo.org/en/tourists/topics_event/topics/110620/topics.html

[2] http://animecenter.jp/calendar/

[3] http://www.akihabara-radiokaikan.co.jp/

[4] http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2013/07/04/food/takemura-as-traditional-as-it-gets/#.WDmeCdIrLIV, https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1310/A131002/13000342/

[5] http://www.gotokyo.org/en/tourists/guideservice/volunteer/course_03/course_03_04.html

[6] https://mangajuku.jp/workshop/index.html

[7] https://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/e/

[8] https://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/e/attractions/

[9] http://www.cinemasunshine.co.jp/

[10] http://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/english/2_guide/guide.html

[11] https://fastjapan.com/en/p112544

[12] http://sam.or.jp/english_home

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Author
Emma Hanashiro
Emma Hanashiro

A weekend hikikomori with an expertise in fujoshi culture and anime. Dreams of writing her own Boys’ Love manga someday.

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