Most anime fans dream of heading to Japan one day and most of us have a list of places we’d like to see. We’ve spent countless hours experiencing Japan through our entertainment. What places really feel like and how you will fit into the atmosphere is a much bigger mystery.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to where we’d like to stop at.
I admit that Akihabara is a bit of a generic choice but I feel like it is somewhere that anyone interested in anime and manga should probably go once. It has become an icon of otakudom seen in countless series. It is essentially become a shorthand for where you go to get nerdy goods. It has gained the reputation of the place where nerds go to be nerds and get all the nerdy goods they need at the same time. That also means that level of fame means that everyone who has gone (and quite a few that have not) have an opinion. I have seen people say everything from it is amazing or pretty cool to overrated or horrible. Despite all of that I want to just see what all the fuss is about. In the end I’m going to approach it with cautious optimism. I’m going to try and not hype it up as if it were a fantastical wonderland that will have every wonderful piece of merchandise I ever wanted but at the same time I want to give the area a chance to show me what it has to offer.
Based on the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower was a staple site of magic and power in 90s anime. It appeared in countless school trips and sometimes transported kids to magical lands. Since the 90s is when I truly became a fan, Tokyo Tower has become a must-see destination for me despite its declining popularity in both anime and real life.
The big anime convention in Japan and America are not really the same things. No one would ever confuse Otakon and AnimeExpo for Comiket or AnimeJapan. They have a very different vibe and function. As someone who goes to a decent number on American cons every year I would love to experience a Japanese convention just to see how it is different. Tokyo Big Site is the place where Comiket and AnimeJapan which are two conventions I really want to check out.
Comiket’s devotion to doujinshi and fan made works only real analogy at an American con would be the artist alley but that is like comparing a lake to the ocean. Both of them can be magnetic and enjoyable but there is a major difference in size and depth. It just seems like a rite of passage or trip to Mecca to visit Comiket. It can be a bit hellish at time but the rare treasures you can potentially find make it all worth it. Plus I have always wanted to check out the Japanese table top RPG scene there.
AnimeJapan seems a bit more like a trade show than a convention but that distinctly has its own charm. As someone who used to go to PC and software trade shows there is a energy and excitement you can experience when you go to a show like that when your not working the floor.
I might not be able to go to both events ever but I would distinctly like to at least see one of them. I think it would give me a greater appreciation and perspective on the conventions I attend here.
An endless sea of red gates is a beguiling sight. The Inari Fushimi Shrine has hundreds of these torii gates along its trails that lead up to Mount Inari. This Kyoto shrine is dedicated to the Shinto god Inari whose messengers are foxes and their likeness can be found throughout the complex.
OK so maybe the life-size Zaku isn’t there (yet) like in the picture above but the life-size Gundam is a draw for any fan of Gundam or mecha in general. It is probably the closest any of us will ever get to see a giant robot in real life. Gundam Front Tokyo is not just the Life-size Gundam. It also has a bunch of other large (but not life sized) Gundam statues, a little museum, and of course a fairly large gift shop filled with exclusive merchandise only sold at Gundam Front Tokyo.
I would also love to eat at the Gundam Cafe. I am 1000% sure everything there is overpriced but it feels like one of those things you do once. An indulgence while abroad. You buy some overpriced gundam themed food and drink, go into the Char or Sayla bathroom, buy some nifty merchandise, and generally have a good time.
Tsuritama portrayed Enoshima as a beautiful and idilyic location (OK, plus aliens, but still). This small island is southwest of Tokyo in view of Mount Fuji.
I don’t usually like warm weather vacations but I could happily make a couple of days detour to these beaches, aquarium, and caves. It seems like a low key and relaxing place.